CPV St. Charles dedicated at ceremony
Natural gas plant one of largest economic projects in decades
On what was perhaps the hottest day of the year so far, business leaders and elected officials assembled within a large canopy tent in an open field overlooking the new CPV St. Charles Energy Center, a natural gas power plant in Waldorf managed by the Silver Spring-based Competitive Power Ventures Inc.
Large electric fans on each side of the canopy ushered a welcome breeze onto the guests of Tuesday afternoon’s dedication ceremony for the new facility, with those in attendance including Gov. Larry Hogan (R), Japanese Ambassador to the United States Kenichiro Sasae, several state delegates, the Charles County commissioners and business leaders from American and Japanese companies invested in the project.
Though CPV Vice President Jeff Ahrens says the 725 megawatt plant has been commercially operational since February, the June 13 dedication ceremony offered a chance for an official ribbon cutting and a celebration of a project that took years of planning, financing and
Gary Lambert, president and CEO of CPV, highlighted the contributions of those involved in bringing the plant to fruition.
“To do a project as big and complex as this, it takes a lot of people and a lot of cooperation,” Lambert said.
The CPV St. Charles Energy center is partially owned by Japanese corporations Marubeni, Toyota Tsusho and Osaka Gas, with each company providing 25 percent of the plant’s financing, officials said. It was constructed by SNC Lavalin Constructors Inc. and is operated by EthosEnergy Power Plant Services LLC.
Speaking on stage in the canopy, Hogan called the natural gas plant an exciting achievement for Charles County and for all of Maryland, citing it as one of the largest economic development projects in the entire state over the last decade.
“It’s a welcome addition to this area as a source of reliable energy for so many Maryland residents and businesses,” Hogan said.
Speakers at the ceremony noted the plant’s low impact on the environment compared to older, coal-fired power plants. Ahrens said the plant’s General Electric 7F.05 gas turbines and General Electric D402 steam turbine bring the facility’s efficiency rating to nearly 60 percent, approximately 40 percent more efficient than most coal power plants.
“CPV St. Charles can produce more electricity with less fuel, creating far lower emissions than older, less efficient plants,” Ahrens said. “For people of this region this translates to improved grid reliability, lower cost of electricity and a responsible environmental footprint.”
Sasae even noted climate change in his remarks, joking about the day’s heat, “It’s not because of climate change; it’s more because of your enthusiasm.”
Beyond the plant’s atmospheric impact, speakers praised CPV St. Charles’ use of “gray water” from the Mattawoman Wastewater Treatment Plant for cooling the facility. According to CPV officials, using water from the treatment plant means less of an impact on local aquifers and puts use to non-potable water that would otherwise be left to drain into the Chesapeake Bay.
“As you look around today, you can see that this plant is just a marvel of engineering,” Del. Sally Jameson (D-Charles) said. “I think this is a project that any community would want to see.“
Del. Edith Patterson (D-Charles), Jameson and Del. C.T. Wilson (D-Charles) presented CPV President and CEO Gary Lambert with a citation congratulating CPV on providing jobs and services to Charles County.
Charles County Board of Commissioners’ President Peter Murphy (D) was the event’s final speaker, noting that CPV St. Charles is the single largest economic development project undertaken in the county in decades.
“This facility is one of the largest taxpayers in the county and will be generating more than $100 million in revenue for Charles County over the next 23 years,” Murphy said. “This additional revenue will play a key role in helping to support crucial services and initiatives that will benefit all of the residents of Charles County.”
He said the construction phase employed hundreds of people, many of them union workers. Now operating, the plant will continue to employ 24 good-paying jobs, along with 70 to 80 indirect jobs supporting facility operation, Murphy said.
Murphy and Commissioners’ Vice President Amanda Stewart (D) presented on behalf of all the commissioners the Charles County seal to Lambert and Ahrens.
Following the presentation, officials and attendees emptied out of the tent for the plant’s official ribbon cutting.
All holding one oversized pair of scissors, Hogan, Sasae and Lambert clipped the ribbon in half, marking CPV St. Charles’ dedication complete.
“This is a historical day in Charles County,” Commissioner Ken Robinson (D) said. “In terms of where we’ve been, where we are today and most importantly, moving forward.”
Commissioner Debra Davis (D) says the plant is a real win for everyone, particularly with the increased tax base.
“Once one company breaks the line and comes, it paves the way for others,” Davis said. “I’m excited for other companies coming, for spinoffs of CPV, to bring more commercial income to Charles County.”
Gov. Larry Hogan, CPV President and CEO Gary Lambert and Ambassador of Japan Kenichiro Sasae cut the ribbon outside of the CPV St. Charles Energy Center in Waldorf during the natural gas power plant’s dedication ceremony on June 13. Business leaders, state delegates and the Charles County commissioners attended and participated in the ceremony for the 725 megawatt facility.