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Power plant builder awards contract

GOOD SPRING – A Canadian company planning to operate a power plant in Schuylkill County has awarded the contract to build it.

It won’t use coal, but it is better for the environment and it will create jobs, a local economic development expert said.

“This assures affordable power and cleaner air for the future,” Frank Zukas, president of Schuylkill Economic Development Corp., said in the release. “Also, the new wave of gas power plants supports a healthier and more sustainable job market opportunity for the commonwealth.”

EmberClear Corp. announced Wednesday that SK E&C USA will handle the engineering, procurement and construction of the $800 million-plus power plant in Good Spring.

The Good Spring NGCC power plant will supply enough electricity for about 300,000 households. The plant will employ about 500 construction workers for two years, then about 100 full-time positions for plant operations. It is expected to put more than $1 billion into the local economy over 15 years.

The project will be developed by EmberClear, which hopes a utility company, yet to be identified, will take part in paying for it and eventually own and operate it.

The company first planned to use an integrated gasification combined cycle power plant that turns coal into synthetic gas, or syngas. In February, EmberClear signed an energy agreement with China’s Huaneng Clean Energy Research Institute to allow the company to develop the patented gasification technology in the United States.

However, in May, EmberClear announced an increase in planned power generation at Good Spring Power from 270 to 300 megawatts with the use of a Natural Gas Combined Cycle power plant. A combined cycle generates electric power through an assembly of heat engines working together from the same source, converting it into mechanical energy that drives electrical generators.

EmberClear still has the ability to build an IGCC plant if economic conditions are better for coal.

Founded in 1977, SK E&C has provided technical expertise and managed various construction projects, including national infrastructure, housing, plants, eco-friendly incinerators and nuclear power plants. SK E&C also provides wireless mobile communication equipment. For more information about SK E&C, visit the corporation’s website at www.skec.com.

“Projects of this nature require the scale and experience of an engineering, procurement and construction company such as SK E&C USA in order to bring all the other requisite parties to finance, contract and perform the construction of this great asset,” Albert Lin, CEO of EmberClear, said in the press release. “We look forward to further progress in maximizing this region of the USA’s natural gas abundance, skilled workers and demand for low-emissions power.”

“We expect the U.S. natural gas-based power market to rapidly expand over the next decade, especially in the Marcellus Shale geography where Good Spring NGCC is situated,” Keith Clause, chief executive officer of SK E&C USA, said in the release. “SK E&C has been adding jobs in the U.S. in response and preparation for this opportunity.”

EmberClear, an advanced energy development company based in Canada, owns about 560 acres in Good Spring, Porter Township. The publicly-traded company has been planning to build the power plant for about four years.

Jim Palumbo, president of Future Power Pennsylvania Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of EmberClear, said the Good Spring NGCC project is on schedule to commission in 2015 and is expected to break ground in 2013.

For more information about EmberClear or the Good Spring Power Plant, visit www.emberclear.com.