IMG Midstream plans to build small-scale electric-generation facilities that will use Marcellus Shale gas and create local jobs.
As part of the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce‘s monthly education luncheon series, the Shadowbrook Inn & Resort hosted IMG Midstream on Wednesday to discuss the company’s power generation plans across northeastern Pennsylvania. Over 50 representatives of local businesses came to hear the presentation.
IMG Midstream is developing several relatively smaller-scale power generation facilities that will utilize Marcellus Shale gas. The advantages, according to IMG Midstream Senior Development Manager Matt Tripoli, include strategically placing the facilities near existing infrastructure as well as supporting local energy and local jobs.
“We’re unique in that we’re building these small power plants so we can use the local infrastructure, which are small pipelines and power lines,” he said. “We’re quite different from projects like the Panda Liberty plant, and at 800 megawatts (Mw) our facilities will be about 1/40 the size. Where they have one big investment, our investments are spread over multiple sites. They will have one of the most state-of-the-art power plants in the world in terms of efficiency, where we’ll be focusing more on flexibility in reacting to certain events while still maintaining a high level of efficiency.”
One of the things that Tripoli reiterated is this; IMG Midstream prides itself on is the use of existing infrastructure to reduce the need to build and expand lines, and working with DEP to employ best available technologies to reach a high level of air emissions efficiency.
“We also take noise, light and traffic issues very seriously,” Tripoli said. “We work with the counties and townships where we operate our facilities to make sure we are making commitments that will make them as happy as we possibly can while we develop these facilities.”
Another advantage of the IMG Midstream plants is the significantly smaller development footprint, Tripoli added, citing the company’s Meshoppen project that will only take up approximately two acres.
“For this location there will be five GE engines and each one is about 5,000 horsepower,” he said. Each IMG site will be able to generate 19.9 Mw of electricity, or enough for 13,000 homes.
“The facility won’t look much different than a compressor station,” Tripoli added. “At the end of the day, it’s similar technology. We’re not pushing high volumes of natural gas at high pressure into our facilities, but we have similar applications of technology.”
On average, the expected life cycle of the small power plants is around 20 years.
“It depends on how many hours it operates each year, but there will be some major maintenance that needs to take place around the 10 year mark, but we’re projecting after about 20 years technology will have improved quite a bit and some of this might be obsolete by then,” he said.
On the question of safety, Tripoli noted there are several ways IMG Midstream can respond to different types of situations.
“There’s certainly different kinds of equipment failures or things we could get tripped offline for,” he said. “But we have folks stationed in that area that will be visiting the facility on a daily basis during rounds for typical maintenance and checks, and we can respond very quickly if necessary. The facility is monitored remotely 24/7 and we have lots of ways to shut it down remotely.”
During the summer, IMG Midstream opened an operations center near Tunkhannock, which includes seven employees that will oversee all monitoring and control of the company’s local power plants. Senior Managing Director Ron Kiecana emphasized then IMG’s commitment to bolstering local employment, which was a point Tripoli had touched on as well.
“We are committed to hiring locally and making the investment in extensive training for these new employees. This represents our long-term commitment to the communities around our sites and we are excited about furthering our presence in the community.” – Ron Kiecana per IMG Midstream’s website.