Plans for a new natural gas-fired power plant have been announced in Middletown, north of Cincinnati. The plant would employ 3 to 4 hundred people for about three years of construction, and a few dozen when it is up and running in 2018. As Lewis Wallace reports from Ohio Public Radio member WYSO, Middletown is part of a statewide trend towards natural gas—and away from coal.
Natural gas is on the rise: from November 2012 to 2013 energy generated from natural gas in Ohio increased 16 percent.
That’s partly because natural gas prices have become competitive with Appalachian coal.
This past July an $800 million natural gas generator was announced in Caroll County in eastern Ohio, and now NTE Energy says it will put $500 million into the Middletown project. Tim Eves is with NTE Energy.
"With the new gas that’s available on the market and some of the pricing on that gas and the cleanliness of burning it, it’s a very attractive fuel for current generation," Eves said.
Burning natural gas puts out a much lower volume of greenhouse gases than coal, but it’s remained controversial because the natural gas boom is powered by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. And Ohio’s still a coal state at its core: more than 3 quarters of the energy generated here comes from coal-fired plants.