by Lisa Tome
There's a lot going on at Wildcat Point, the newest power generation facility just north of Conowingo.
Rick McWhorter, vice president of operations and asset management, introduced Brian Heinbaugh, who has been hired as the plant general manager for Wildcat Point, to the county council members last week. McWhorter also reviewed the project history, shared the community impact, and more.
The facility, which is a non-profit, is expected to be up and running June 1, 2017. "That is 16 months away. And we are on schedule," said McWhorter.
By next month, all the oversize truck loads which have tied up traffic locally, should be completed. So far, 37 of the anticipated 41 heavy loads have been completed.
Back in 2013, Old Dominion chose Rock Springs as the site for an expansion project. In 2013, the permitting process was navigated. Purchase agreements for major equipment were negotiated. Transco was selected to be the gas supplier.
The Wildcat Point project is a combined cycle generation facility. It features a pair of gas turbines, two heat recovery boilers, and a steam turbine with water cooling. This system is more efficient than past systems.
Major pieces of large equipment are on site. As of last week, everything except for generator transformers had been delivered. Mitsubishi gas turbines and generators were finished last August. Steam turbine components were completed and wrapped up in October.
On site, construction is well underway. The major foundations have been completed. Piping and electrical equipment work has begun. Buildings are being erected. Work is expected to be completed in May 2017.
Work planned between this spring and spring of 2017 includes construction work. During peak construction as many as 600 workers will be working six days a week. Testing of the facility workings will begin later this fall.
When it comes to community impact, since 2013, Old Dominion and Essential Power have paid $9,135,000 in taxes. Payments of $3.6 million per year started in fall 2015, The projected facility life is 30 years. Tax payments during that span are estimated at $120 million.
White Oak, the construction contractor, currently has about 465 people in site working. More than 50 of those people were hired locally. About 400 people are renting lodging and eating in the area. Local businesses have benefitted because equipment rentals, and services such as portable toilets, have been locally contracted.
So far, 14 employees have been hired. An additional 16 people will be hired by April 1.
"We're pleased with the quality of the workforce we've found," said McWhorter. Heinbaugh lives in Harford County and grew up in Baltimore County. He took council members on a tour of the facility. "You have to see it to appreciate it," said Councilman George Patchell.
"This is one of the largest construction projects we've seen in Cecil County," said Councilman Dan Schneckenburger.
"I was impressed with the facility and the workforce. I hope it stays on budget and on schedule," said Council president Robert Hodge.