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New Power Plant In South Huntingdon Twp. To Create Jobs, Impact Local Economy

SOUTH HUNTINGDON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) -- It has drawn outcry from environmentalists from day one, but construction has now begun on a multi-million dollar power plant in Westmoreland County.

Tenaska Incorporated cleared its last regulatory hurdle earlier this year, and between now and the time construction is completed, the plant will employ hundreds of people.

For decades the construction site was an old farm, producing food that fed people from around western Pennsylvania. The new plant will be producing electricity for people across the eastern part of the United States.

Earth movers are already at it and workers have begun their duties on the new energy facility in South Huntingdon Township.

"A developed, natural gas power plant at the site, creating 900 megawatts of electricity," said Jason Rigone, of Westmoreland Industrial Development Co.

Omaha-based energy developer Tenaska is behind the $780 million project. Federal and state regulators gave the thumbs up on the facility. The final piece, funding is lined up now as well.

"This is the largest single investment we've seen in this county in the last 10 years from the private standpoint," sad Rigone.

Next come the jobs and their local impact.

"Four-hundred construction-related jobs and 25 permanent jobs once the facility is completed," Rigone said. "Those wages get spent in stores, buying gas, buying products, paying mortgages."

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Sitting right beside I-70, the plant will be fired by natural gas, which Westmoreland County and the surrounding area has in abundance. Once produced, massive powerlines will course electricity to 13 different states, enough energy to power 925to 1,000 homes.

If everything goes as planned, the new plant will be up and on-line by 2018.

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