Region wins praise as good site for plant

From The Observer,

Sarnia-Lambton is a good fit for the new 300-MW natural gas fired electricity plant announced this week, says the company’s president.

A 12-acre portion of land at the Lambton Generating Station in Courtright is set to become the new home for the $360-million Greenfield South Power plant that was originally being built in Mississauga until the provincial government cancelled the project last year.

Ontario Energy Minister Chris Bentley announced this week the plant would relocate to St. Clair Township.

“We think that entire area is ideal,” Gregory Vogt, president of Toronto-based Eastern Power Ltd., said about the project’s move to Sarnia-Lambton. “We’re excited to move on. Our company is all about using Ontario expertise to build Ontario, and this is certainly a big step for us to move forward.”

Vogt said they have already set up some preliminary meetings with officials in St. Clair Township. “We will be doing a more formal approach to the council, as well.”

Both provincial and municipal permits and approvals will be needed before construction can begin.

“It’s not unusual to see a permitting period of a year, or even more,” Vogt said. “It might be less. At this point it’s hard to predict.”

Once approvals are in place, the construction timeline tends to be “two-plus years,” he said.

The province said the project will create 200 construction jobs. “It certainly will be all of that,” Vogt said. “That’s a fairly conservative number.”

Sarnia-Lambton’s experience with building industry over the years means it’s well-served with the trades the project needs, he said.

“Our understanding is, from what we’ve read, the local trades are in need of the work, so we think it’s a beautiful fit.”

Natural gas lines and electricity transmission lines the plant will need are also already in place in St. Clair Township.

“The local connections have to be built, which are fairly short distances,” Vogt said.

“That’s the strength of this neighbourhood, the Sarnia-Lambton area, it has infrastructure galore.”

Vogt said the plant will be a high-efficiency, state-of-the-art facility. “They’re seen in all the major urban areas of the world, because it’s such a clean facility,” he said.

“It’s not unlike the facilities that have been built down in that neck of the woods.”

They include the 577-MW St. Clair Energy Centre that opened in 2009 and the 1005-MW Greenfield Energy Centre that began operation a year before that. Both are also in St. Clair Township.

Sarnia is home to TransAlta’s natural gas-fired 444-MW cogeneration plant that also generates electricity.

Vogt said that once the Greenfield South Power plant is built, “staffing will probably be in the 30-odd people” range.

Vogt said the company has other plants in the Greater Toronto Area.

“This will be our latest and largest facility.”

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