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Sithe Global’s River Hill Project, PA

STATUS: Canceled

TYPE: Coal

OPPOSITION: Sierra Club

PROSPECTS: Unlikely

BACKGROUND: In 2004 the developer proposed a 290 megawatt waste coal plant in Karthaus, Pennsylvania.  It estimated that the project would create 1,000 jobs during construction and provide 300 permanent mining and transportation jobs in addition to 60 permanent power plant jobs.  Construction costs were estimated at approximately $600 million.  Permits were issued in July 2005 and site work began in January 2007. 

The project had substantial local and State political support. However, the developer could not secure affordable financing to finish the plant.  In March 2007, it began exploring a sale of development rights. In November it received State tax-exempt bond support of up to $600 million.  However, rising interest rates rendered the bond funds uneconomic. In 2009 the developer sought a federal guarantee for the bonds, but this request was denied in early 2010.  As a result, the project was cancelled after more than $50 million had been invested.

Sierra Club opposed the project as part of its national strategy to fight all coal projects.  In this case, Sierra could not challenge the State permits.  Instead, in July 2009 it targeted the developer’s parent Blackstone Group with a campaign claiming that investment in coal plants created undue shareholder risk.  

SOURCES: http://www.gantdaily.com/news/43/ARTICLE/9465/2007-11-29.html 
http://www.sitheglobal.com/ 
http://gantdaily.com/2010/02/27/river-hill-project-appears-done/
http://www.wjactv.com/news/22648002/detail.html 
http://www.pabusinesscentral.com/2009/03/river-hill-power-plant-could-employ-1000/

LAST UPDATED:  December 3, 2010