Construction for the first power plant deliberately located on the Marcellus Shale formation began Thursday.
“Panda Power Funds Liberty Energy Center is the first power plant in Pennsylvania specifically developed to harness potential Marcellus Shale gas formation,” Gov. Tom Corbett said at the groundbreaking.
The 829-megawatt natural gas-fueled power plant will be located in Asylum Township in Bradford County.
Corbett said the facility is creating approximately 560 jobs: 500 to construct it, about 27 to operate it and 45 indirect jobs to support it.
“It equals jobs in the field, it equals jobs in building manufacturing plants or power plants like this one, it equals jobs in the waitress working at the lunch counter that probably didn’t have that job before,” Corbett said.
He said the plant will help revive and reinvigorate communities from Towanda to Williamsport.
“It means up to $5.7 billion in the local economy, and it means progress and prosperity for the entire northern tier of Pennsylvania,” Corbett said.
According to the Dallas-based private equity firm, Panda Power Funds, the plant was intentionally located in this area to “take advantage of low natural gas prices and transportation costs.”
Corbett’s office said it will utilize state-of-the-art emissions-control technology to make it “one of the cleanest natural gas-fueled power plants in the nation.”
The firm also noted that the power plant will neither take nor discharge water into the Susquehanna River.
Corbett said the plant is expected to power up to 1 million homes throughout the Northeast.
“They’re going to be heated by Pennsylvania natural gas, and it didn’t happen by accident," he said. "It happened through a lot of hard work by people here in this tent, people out there working right now, but all over Pennsylvania.”
The plant is expected to start commercial operations by early 2016.