- South Field Energy LLC has chosen global engineering and construction company Bechtel to build a $1.3 billion combined-cycle energy plant in the Village of Wellsville, Columbiana County, Ohio. The 1,182-megawatt facility will be able to power a million homes.
- Bechtel, which has received permission to begin construction on the facility right away, will provide engineering, procurement and construction services for the new plant. Bechtel Enterprises has partnered with energy infrastructure company Advanced Power, the parent company of South Field, to develop the project, which will use gas and steam turbines together to produce more electricity from the same fuel than a traditional energy plant. Bechtel and Advanced are also working together on the combined-cycle Cricket Valley Energy Center in Dover, New York, and recently completed Ohio's Carroll County Energy Facility as well.
- The project is expected to create 1,000 construction jobs at peak activity, with the plant slated to become operational in 2021.
Owners and developers of power plants and other energy-generating facilities are increasingly trying to find ways to provide enough power to their customers, but are also looking to achieve this in the most energy-efficient way possible, like with combined-cycle plants. In fact, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's July 2018 update of U.S. energy infrastructure projects, there were 286 projects — either new construction or expansion — of water, wind, biomass, geothermal steam, solar and waste heat versus 68 projects based on coal, natural gas, nuclear energy and oil. The 53 natural gas projects, however, created more installed capacity in megawatts than all the others combined.
Like any other construction niche, there are contractors, like Bechtel, that specialize in building energy infrastructure. And while the opportunities are there, some construction companies have adapted to compete and even dominate in these alternative energy arenas. For example, Mortenson Construction built one small wind turbine in Iowa back in 1995 at a customer's request and since has parlayed that into a major company division with $1 billion-plus projects.
Another major commercial contractor, San Francisco-based Swinerton, executes turnkey utility-scale solar power projects, as well as the engineering, construction, operations and maintenance of U.S. solar photovoltaic plants through the 100% employee-owned Swinerton Renewable Energy Services. Solar Power World ranked the company as the No. 1 solar contractor for 2018. Mortenson ranked No. 3 on the list.