Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is planned at the Rolling Hills Generating Station?

A: Presently, the Rolling Hills Generating Station is comprised of five natural gas-fueled combustion turbines that can be started rapidly — within 30 minutes — to provide power when there is peak electricity demand, such as really hot or cold days or when other plants are down for maintenance. We plan to convert four of the combustion turbines and add two steam-powered turbine-generator sets — a combined-cycle configuration — enabling the facility to provide ongoing baseload power. That conversion will mean more energy without using additional fuel.

Q. What is the regional benefit of having a combined-cycle/peaker plant in the area?

A. The plant will provide significant benefit to Vinton County. In addition to increasing the tax base, the plant's owner will pay property taxes or make in-lieu-of-taxes payments to the county during the years of operation. At the same time, the plant will create little demand for local services, such as schools, police or roads — a win-win for residents of the county.

The presence of a modern, low-emission power plant helps shift the source of power in the Ohio region away from older plants with greater emissions. And, it will provide jobs, both short term (more than 400 at peak of construction) and long term.

Q. What is the operational life of the plant?

A. The converted plant will be considered to have a lifetime of at least 30 years; however, good maintenance and care will be employed, which can extend its expected lifetime.

Q. Why convert the Rolling Hills Generating Station?

A. Redeveloping a current generation station is expected to be much less disruptive and more cost-effective than establishing an all-new generating station. The key factors in selecting a site for this kind of natural gas-fueled plant are access to natural gas pipelines, power transmission corridors, a reliable supply of water, a welcoming community and a viable power market. Because these characteristics are present at the Rolling Hills plant site, Vinton County stands to receive significant benefits. Through increased valuations, more funds should be available to support schools, emergency and safety services, and deliver a host of other advantages.

Q. Has Rolling Hills begun to seek permits and zoning? What’s the timetable?

A. Construction of this conversion project will bring millions of dollars of spending and construction jobs to the community over a period of about 30 months (more than 400 jobs at peak construction). After that, it will mean additional well-paying, full-time operations jobs.

A request to interconnect the converted plant with the PJM Interconnection regional electric grid was filed, and studies by PJM showed the converted plant would have no negative impacts on the transmission system. The Ohio Power Siting Board issued a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need in May 2013. An air quality permit was issued by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency in May 2015.

Q. How would Rolling Hills describe the reception it has received so far in Vinton County?

Rolling Hills feels it is welcome to develop this project here. Civic and business leaders, as well as individual residents, have expressed appreciation for the benefits the current plant provides, including in-lieu-of-taxes payments and jobs.

Q. How can I learn more about the conversion project?

A. There is a project website: www.rollinghillsproject.com; you can contact us by email at rollinghillsproject@easterngen.com

Q. Where will the construction workers come from?

A. Plant construction will offer employment opportunities to qualified local laborers and trades workers. Rolling Hills will hire an EPC — engineering, procurement, and construction — contractor to build the project. The EPC contractor performs design, completes engineering and manages construction of the plant. The EPC contractor also awards construction materials contracts. Rolling Hills will make an effort to have the EPC contractor hire workers from the local area. Some work may require skills that may not be available regionally; however, Rolling Hills will request that the contractor advertise for workers when construction is about to begin and that local businesses be invited to apply for subcontract work, whenever possible.

Q. How many workers will be on site?

A. At peak construction, more than 400 trades or other workers will be at the site. When construction is scheduled, Rolling Hills will encourage the general contractor to place ads, offer job fairs and let the area know that resumes are being accepted for workers and subcontractors.

Q. When can I begin applying for a job at the Rolling Hills facility?

A. It’s too early to talk about applying for jobs. Here’s why: On the current development timeline, the earliest commercial operation date is projected for 2018. The earliest that applications could be accepted for full-time employment at the converted Rolling Hills facility is in 2017 to allow time for training before projected commercial operation in 2018.

Q. What will be the source of water used at the plant?

A. Water is used at the plant primarily to cool equipment but also to make steam, which powers a portion of the plant’s generating capacity. Water use is very efficient. Typically, water is circulated multiple times through the plant’s systems. All operations are permitted from state and federal authorities.

Water for the plant would come from the Ohio River. Our objective in locating a source of water is one that will serve our needs for at least 30 years and protects the community’s quality of life and capacity to grow.

Q. What impact will the plant have on air quality?

A. Emissions from this plant will not significantly affect air quality. The combination of natural gas as fuel and best-available emission control technology will ensure that emissions will meet or be better than applicable health-based state and national compliance standards. Rolling Hills will submit a complete analysis of air quality impacts, which will be available for public review as part of the air quality permitting process.

Q. What impact will the plant have on the need for transmission lines?

A. The plant is already connected to the transmission grid, so there is no need for additional transmission lines.

Q. Is Rolling Hills’ operator a good corporate citizen?

A. Yes. In addition to being the largest revenue source for the Vinton County Local School District, Rolling Hills Generating provides support to youth programs, the local food pantry, American Red Cross, the Christmas Giving Tree and Feed-A-Family program. In 2009, the plant made a contribution to the purchase of a fire truck for Wilkesville Fire Department. In 2011, a $30,000 commitment made it possible to build a new fire station in Wilkesville. Rolling Hills employees volunteered approximately 470 hours to community causes in 2014.

Q. Who do I contact if I have questions?

A. An email address has been set up for questions about the Rolling Hills project. The project mailbox is rollinghillsproject@easterngen.com.