Groundbreaking signals start of Wildcat Point power plant project
By Jane Bellmyer Cecil Whig
Wildcat Point launches $675 million construction project
CONOWINGO, MD — Attendance for the groundbreaking of Wildcat Point Generation Facility was so large that people had to take turns with the shovels and hard hats. The Tuesday afternoon ceremony on the grounds of Rock Springs Generation Facility on Route 222 near the Pennsylvania line brought together 11 cooperatives that run Old Dominion Electric Cooperative. And it is Old Dominion, which is launching the two-and-a-half-year, $675-million construction project.
ODEC will use the plant to generate and distribute power to those utilities, including Choptank Electric Cooperative, which serves southern Cecil County. “This will be environmentally benign power and at a reasonable price,” said Michael Wheatley, president and CEO of Choptank. “We will be proud to accept the output from this plant.”
When completed in the spring of 2017, Wildcat Point is expected to generate 1,000 megawatts of power.
“That’s power to connect to 390,000 new homes,” said Dominick Murray, secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. “That’s a wonderful investment.”
It’s also about jobs and revenue, according to Delegate David Rudolph (D-Cecil). “It’s important we have jobs,” he said. “Old Dominion has been committed to our community and keeping the jobs local.”
As many as 600 construction jobs will come first, followed by 30 full-time positions in the plant.
“That’s 30 permanent jobs,” noted Lisa Webb, director of the Cecil County Department of Economic Development. “We will be working with the Susquehanna Workforce Network to put the skill set requirements together.”
ODEC and the Rock Springs facility have already provided community support through donations to organizations including West Cecil Health Center and the Cecil County Health Department as well as scholarships to area schools. Webb said that the cooperative-controlled company also helps by contributing to the county revenue base, which according to the president of the ODEC board of directors was more than $33 million last year.
“Employees who work here will participate and be part of this community,” said Myron Rummel, president and CEO of Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative in Harrisonburg, Va. On top of all that, Rummel said the plant itself will be a good neighbor. “We’re signifying the beginning of a generating facility providing clean energy for decades,” he said of the natural gas-burning plant.
Photo- Jack Reasor, ODEC President & CEO addresses the audience at the Wildcat Point Groundbreaking Ceremony on October 14, 2014.
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