Proposed Renovo Energy Center Hits a Snag

RESTON, VA – An official with the proposed Renovo Energy Center has confirmed a report that the $800 million natural gas-to-electricity project has hit another delay, pushing the start of possible construction back to the fourth quarter of 2018.

Project director Rick Franzese told therecord-online on Thursday that while the permitting process continues on schedule, it may be until the middle of next year that interconnect issues are satisfactorily resolved. As a result, Franzese said, project developers are looking at the final quarter of next year to start demolition of the old rail yard shop building at the Renovo Industrial Park, followed by construction of the new facility. Originally developers had hoped to have construction underway by now but in March of this year announced a six month delay, pushing a possible groundbreaking into spring of 2018; now that date is pushed back another six months, to the last quarter of next year.

Franzese said issues related to the interconnect of the produced electricity into the PJM and New York state power-line  grids have proved to be more complex than originally anticipated, compounded by the need to reach agreements with multiple governmental entities. He called the delay a “temporary obstacle” and voiced optimism the project will proceed to fruition.

Asked to comment, Mike Flanagan, head of the Clinton County Economic Partnership, noted that progress has been made and acknowledged the continuing effort to bring the natural gas-to-electricity project to completion:

“Renovo Energy Center (REC) continues to work diligently toward obtaining necessary approvals to construct a gas to electricity power plant on the former Renovo rail yards. There continues to be progress, as evident by the recent approval of the earth moving NPDES permit, as well as the public notification of the “notice of intent to issue” regarding a DEP air quality permit. REC is working with the interconnect systems and that process is taking some time. The tentative timeframe has been pushed back to approximately one year from now as far as the beginning of construction. The Clinton County Economic Partnership understands that projects of this size take time to develop. We are grateful that developers of the project and Renovo Energy Center continue to invest and push forward on this important project for our area.”

The project is expected to have hundreds of construction workers on site for more than two years. There will be approximately 30 permanent jobs when the project is completed.