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Valley power plant construction to start soon News, Sports, Jobs

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WARREN — Construction of a natural gas-fired power plant in Lordstown should start in October and take about 39 months to complete, according to an executive with the Massachusetts-based company developing the $1.2 billion facility.

Steve Remillard, executive vice president of development for Clean Energy Future-Trumbull LLC, also said over the three-year construction period for Trumbull Energy Center, building jobs will peak at about 800.

He spoke Wednesday to the Western Reserve Port Authority board, which then agreed to bring the project into its capital lease program and issue a sales tax exemption, the latter a move that will save the company about $6 million in sales taxes on construction materials.

It’s a financing mechanism that port authorities in Ohio have available to exempt sales tax on construction-related materials.

Under the terms of the preliminary agreement with the port authority, it will own the building — not the equipment — and lease the structure back to Clean Energy Future-Trumbull for at least five years.

The move, however, shouldn’t cause much harm to sales tax collection because most of the materials in mega deals such as the Trumbull Energy Center are purchased outside of Ohio and brought in.

“I know a lot of the companies do buy some of this locally, but it’s not so much. They are not going to Home Depot for a light switch; it’s massive and a lot of that comes from across state lines,” said Anthony Trevena, port authority executive director.

The building planned for Henn Parkway near state Route 45 will have about 40,000 square feet of production space and about 13,000 square feet of administrative space.

About 22 workers will be employed full-time to operate the plant, but contract labor, often local, is brought in for items such as insulation, painting and ongoing maintenance, Remillard said.

Board member Ed Muransky said, “Every project is a little bit different. This one, you look at 40 jobs and you say, 40 jobs are important, but then you look at the two projects, $2.5 billion of construction work. Then you look at the infrastructure needs and what else is on our table, those way outweigh the 40 jobs.”

It will be the second 940-megawatt power plant in Lordstown. The first is Lordstown Energy Center, which opened in 2018.

Trumbull Energy Center was nearly sunk earlier this year while officials in Lordstown bickered over which entity — Warren or the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District — would provide water service to the plant.

The debate caused weeks of delay, but the village’s Board of Public Affairs and council in July approved a water service agreement with Warren — the developer’s provider of choice.

On Sept. 15, the project received approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which is part of the US Treasury that reviews certain transactions involving foreign investment in the US to determine their effect on national security.

The approval was needed because a majority of the equity ownership is by South Korean entities.

Other notable projects in the port authority’s capital lease program are the $2.3 billion Ultium Cells factory and a distribution center for off-priced home decor retailer HomeGoods, both also in Lordstown.

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