The Calpine power company will break ground in the next few months on its 309-megawatt, natural gas-fired, electricity generating plant in the Garrison Oak Technical Park in the city of Dover.
The $300 million construction project would actually be phase one for Calpine, which has plans to build a second, 309-megawatt facility should the market demand it, company officials said. Calpine, America's largest independent power producer, said the Garrison Energy Center plant would be 40 percent more fuel efficient than plants employing older technologies, "making them both cost-effective and low-carbon sources of electricity."
The project is anticipated to bring about 300 construction jobs to Dover and 15 permanent, high-paying jobs to the city plant once it's operational, Dover City Manager Scott Koenig said.
City Councilman David Bonar, chairman of the Utility Committee, has urged Calpine officials to ensure most of the construction jobs go to Dover and Kent County contractors. However, Bonar said some technically-based labor would have to be imported from Pennsylvania or elsewhere.
Dover City Council authorized the sale of $6 million in bonds to pay for the construction of infrastructure needed at Garrison Oak Technical Park in order for Calpine to come to town. That amount would be split evenly between water, sewer, storm water and street construction, Koenig said.
Calpine also received a $2 million economic development grant from the state to help it construct the 16-inch diameter, high pressure gas main that would run about seven miles long from Cheswold to the Calpine plant to supply the gas needed for combustion, Koenig said. Calpine would fund the rest of the $300 million project, Koenig said.
Calpine officials said they would sell all of the energy that the Dover plant produces to the PGM Grid. Bonar, former ombudsman for the state Public Service Commission, estimated that would possibly reduce Dover customer's electric bills by $1.25 per month by creating a new source of power downstate.
"Delaware ratepayers are charged what is called a congestion fee, or a premium, on electricity rates because we have to buy our power from other locales outside the Delmarva Peninsula," Bonar said.
By contributing to the supply of power, savings would be passed on to customers, he said. The infrastructure improvements would also help the city of Dover draw other developers to the roughly 10 lots available at Garrison Oak, Koenig said.
In addition, the Calpine plant would generate $2.3 million in annual revenue for the city given the significant use of water and sanitary sewer services Calpine anticipates using as well as some general fund taxes Calpine will pay. Koenig said the revenue created would go first toward paying off the bonds sold for this project.
Dover City Manager Scott Koenig, (302) 736-7005
Page 2 of 2 - Dover Public Affairs Coordinator Kay Dietz-Sass, (302) 736-7002