“We’re continuing our construction and beginning to transition into the start-up phase of our combined cycle units,” Plant Manager Cecil Gurganus said Friday. “The first phase of the start-up will be the initial firing of the units, and the initial start-up of our simple cycle.”
Gurganus explained Monday’s “first fire” will mark the first time the turbines have actually run on fuel.
The power plant addition, as well as a new transmission line, is expected to add 12 more jobs to the 34 that already existed at the plant, will add about $2 million a year to the county’s tax base and created hundreds of construction jobs over the course of the project.
At the ground-breaking ceremony for the project in May of 2009, County Commission Chairman Kenneth Robinette said the tax impact on the county of the project is equivalent to building 8,300 median price homes, only the county won’t have to provide the infrastructure to support the influx of people which would come with the housing boom.
“That is the significance of this plant,” he said. “That’s what it means to Richmond County.
Friday, Gurganus explained the company felt the neighborly thing to do is to let folks in the area know what is going on at the plant.
“We’re committed to keeping our neighbors informed, and letting people in the area know what’s happening at the plant,” Gurganus said. “We are well on schedule, and all the work here at the plant has been done safely. Our neighbors may see a little steam rising from the area, but this is the first actual operation of the unit. It’s something we’re very proud of.”
The new unit is expected to go into full operation around June of this year, when a ceremony will be held at the plant.
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 18, or by e-mail at email@example.com.