DATE: February 17, 2017

SOURCE: Times Leader

PHOTOS BY: Melanie Mizenko

Steve Kratz, senior account executive, Mitch Garber, vice president for site management, and Ross Ain, vice president of Caithness, look over the site of the future Caithness Moxie Freedom Generating Plant in Salem Twnship in 2016

SALEM TWP. – The construction of a new power plant in lower Luzerne County is moving along, and the first of its turbines is expected to arrive by Monday, according to plant officials.

Steve Kratz, seniour account executive, said approximately 30 percent of construction and approximately half of the equipment and machinery has been delivered to the Caithness Moxie Freedom Generating Station site on Mingle Inn Road. The plant is expected to go online in May 2018.

New York state-based Caithness Energy produces power for Moxie Energy LLC, of Virginia. The two companies will operate the plant. It will have two steam turbines and produce more that 1,000 megawatts of energy as part of the PJM Interconnection system, a competitive wholesale electricity market and electricity grid system.

The air coolant center is well under way at the Moxie site. Officials expect to have it completed by May 2018.

The first of the 175-ton General Electric intermediate pressure and low pressure turbines is expected to arrive at the plant early Monday. The turbine, Kratz said, came from Schenectady, N.Y., and took routes through Towanda Township and Dushore.

PennDOT and State Police will continue to escort the turbine on state Route 220, just north of state Route 87, to the PennDOT stockpile on Route 11 in South Centre Township, Columbia County, overnight Saturday. Finally, the turbine will be traveling on state Route 11, north of the PennDOT stockpile3 at Lime Ridge, to the power plant site.

The second turbine is expected to be delivered to the Mingle Inn Road site in March.

The switchyard plant at the Caithness Moxie Freedom Generating Plant site on Mingle Inn Road in Salem Township.

Last year, Mitch Garber, vice president of site management, told the Times Leader the project will average 250 jobs with 600 at its peak. After completion, there will be 25 permanent positions at the facility.

Kratz said there are 400 workers at the site daily during the current construction phase.

The Salem Township site was chosen because the Transco Leidy shale gas lines will run just feet away from the plant's turbines. And due to the nearby nuclear plant, high voltage energy lines were already part of the 100-acre parcel.

Energy from the new plant will power 900,000 homes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.