Energy Company Buys Westmoreland Land for Possible $1 Billion Plant

By Cholodofsky, Rich | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 13, 2009 | Go to article overview

Energy Company Buys Westmoreland Land for Possible $1 Billion Plant


Cholodofsky, Rich, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


A Nebraska-based energy company has quietly purchased 400 acres in South Huntingdon with an eye toward building a $1 billion natural gas power plant to serve eastern and midwestern portions of the United States.

Officials with Teneska Energy of Omaha confirmed on Friday it has bought the Westmoreland County farmland and is studying the feasibility of constructing a power plant.

Early plans call for the company to build on about 50 acres, with the rest of the property to serve as a buffer between the facility and the surrounding community.

"We do not have a firm timetable for development as of this moment, but we are continuing to develop our project," said Dan Culver, a project manager for Teneska.

Teneska, according to its Web site, has been in business since 1987. It owns and operates eight power plants in Virginia, Alabama, Texas, Washington, Oklahoma and Georgia.

Word of the proposal became public earlier this week, when members of the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County approved a contract with Teneska, which will pay $50,000 a year to reserve up to 6 million gallons of water a day from the authority. As of Friday, computerized property records in the Recorder of Deeds Office revealed no Teneska land purchases.

If the power plant is built, Teneska would become the authority's largest water customer, according to authority manager Chris Kerr.

The deal includes a promise from Teneska to pay for up to $30 million in improvements to the authority's transmission systems, which will be needed to move that much water to the proposed plant.

Kerr said company officials have indicated it will cost between $700 million to $1 billion to build a plant. …

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