Proposed natural gas power plant in Birdsboro gets set of permits from DEP

  • Scott Blanchard
FILE PHOTO:  A natural gas power plant under construction in Bradford County, Pa.

Marie Cusick/ StateImpact Pennsylvania

FILE PHOTO: A natural gas power plant under construction in Bradford County, Pa.

The Department of Environmental Protection has OK’d several permits for a proposed natural gas power plant in Berks County.

The DEP said in a news release that it approved permits for construction of the main plant, as well as for a power line and water and natural gas pipelines to the plant. The permits include Safe Drinking Water Permits, required because the Reading Area Water Authority will need to make upgrades to a pumping station and build the water pipeline.

The Birdsboro Power plant is expected to produce up to 485 megawatts of electricity, according to information from EmberClear Corp., which is developing the project. Lehigh Valley Business reported that the project capitalizes “on the abundance of gas extracted from fracking Marcellus shale in the region.” The company says the work has created 300 construction jobs and 25 permanent jobs.

The project has drawn criticism, including from the environmental group Delaware Riverkeeper Network. The plant is being built in the Schuylkill River floodplain, and the filling-in of the floodplain will make flooding worse in Birdsboro and downstream, the group says.

The company says the plant is expected to be up and running in May 2019.