EPSA member Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) announces construction will begin soon on 1,250 MW cutting-edge, efficient natural-gas-fired power plant in Illinois.
Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) is proving the power of competition with its announcement this week that it has closed financing on the $1.3 billion CPV Three Rivers Energy Center. CPV and its partners will begin construction imminently to bring 1,250 MW of electric generation to Illinois—enough to power up to 1.25 million homes and businesses. The CPV Three Rivers Energy Center just south of Chicago is a highly efficient, combined-cycle natural gas generation facility that can provide reliable, environmentally responsible power. The project will help support Illinois’ growing renewable generation portfolio and lead to a more affordable, clean energy future.
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Scheduled to achieve commercial operation in 2023, the plant will use GE’s latest HA turbine technology which stands at 64% efficiency. In comparison, an average gas turbine’s efficiency is about half that efficiency, with the most efficient designs limited to 40%. The CPV Three Rivers Energy Center will therefore use far less fuel to create the same amount of power as the existing, older and less efficient power generation, helping drive down electric prices and significantly reducing emissions.
The CPV Three Rivers Energy Center will sell its electricity into PJM’s regional power market, which coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in 13 states and the District of Columbia, serving 65 million customers.
Reliable Power and Jobs for Illinois
Not only will CPV’s Three Rivers Energy Center bring reliable power to Illinois customers – the project will also bring hundreds of jobs to the region. At peak construction, more than 500 workers will be onsite. Once the plant becomes operational in 2023, it is estimated that 25 full-time jobs and 75 ancillary jobs will be created to support it.
The excitement for CPV Three Rivers doesn’t stop there; the facility has garnered support from regional businesses and local governments, as well as bipartisan backing from Illinois legislators.
Rep. Larry Walsh, Jr. (D-Joliet) touted CPV’s facility, saying, “CPV Three Rivers will provide $1 billion in economic development and hundreds of good-paying, union construction jobs to Illinois over the next two years at a time when more than 1 million Illinoisans are unemployed.”
“As a staunch supporter of the CPV Three Rivers project during its development, I could not be happier to see CPV and their partners reach this critical milestone,” added State Senator Sue Rezin (R-Peru). “Not only are they enhancing the region’s energy corridor by constructing a state-of-the-art generation facility in Grundy County, but also becoming an integral part of our community, committed to supporting our first responders and local schools.”
As Americans struggle with a global pandemic and economic uncertainty, in addition to seeing higher bills as they use more energy at home, reliable and affordable power is more important than ever. Meanwhile, the recent rolling blackouts in California highlight the continued importance of natural gas generation to help ensure sufficient power is available when needed to meet peak demand and avoid service disruption.
“The $1.3 billion investment in the CPV Three Rivers Energy Center is a testament to the economic viability of new, natural gas-fired power generation in PJM. Natural gas facilities like CPV Three Rivers complement renewable generation, providing a reliable, cost-effective and environmentally responsible electric grid,” said Jennifer Villarreal, CPV Corporate Communications Director. “As the recent blackouts in California have shown us, states need reliable electricity that balances renewables with fast ramping, dependable natural-gas-fired generation.”
Competition Delivers the Best Outcomes for Customers, the Environment and the Grid
What makes CPV and other competitive power suppliers stand out is a commitment to rapidly deploying technological innovation – and they, not customers or taxpayers, bear the sole risk of their investment. Whereas regulated utilities pass the costs of building or maintaining projects onto customer bills through a political rate case, competitive power suppliers rely entirely on the market for revenue. That means the construction costs from CPV Three Rivers will not be added on to consumers’ bills as a new charge.
Based on strong consumer support for market-based approaches that allow companies to compete and invest at their own risk, instead of opting for non-competitive or out-of-market options such as a Fixed-Resource Requirement (FRR), states should take note of this project and others like it. Adopting the FRR would limit competition and drive up costs. As states including New Jersey and Maryland grapple with energy policy decisions, Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker’s recently announced plan is a step in the right direction because it encourages market-based solutions to reduce emissions, keep costs low and maintain reliability.
Tom Rumsey, CPV Senior Vice President of External and Regulatory Affairs, said Governor Pritzker’s plan “Rejects the ill-advised path through a Fixed Resource Requirement (FRR) that inordinately favors existing, economically challenged generation. This appropriately puts the focus on reducing carbon emissions by incentivizing innovation, competition and private capital investments like Three Rivers and potential future investments in renewable projects within Illinois.”
The successes of competitive power suppliers like CPV and other EPSA member companies continue to prove that markets encourage companies to be nimble and flexible. If markets are allowed to work as they should, power generators will adapt quickly to invest in the lowest-cost, most-effective resources — achieving lasting widespread, regional results.
Driven by the transformative power of competition and innovation, EPSA member companies are building the grid of the future while providing reliable, efficient and lower cost energy today.
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