A Pennsylvania company is advancing plans to build a dozen small power plants in the Marcellus Shale region, producing electricity for the grid directly from nearby gas wells.
IMG Midstream L.L.C. on Friday presented plans to the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission in Wellsboro to build nine 20-megawatt power stations in Bradford, Tioga, Susquehanna, and Wyoming Counties.
The company, which is based in the Pittsburgh suburb of Wexford and has a Bucks County office in Yardley, also plans to build several other 20-megawatt stations in shale-gas production areas in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
The IMG plants are minnows compared with several power-generation whales under construction in the shale region. Panda Power has broken ground on two 829-megawatt plants in Bradford and Lycoming Counties, and an Invenergy L.L.C. affiliate in August applied to build a 1,300-megawatt station in Lackawanna County.
The smaller IMG power plants, each of which will cost about $20 million, can be built quickly, said Kristi Gittins, an IMG spokeswoman. The power is generated from four Jenbacher J624 engines, supplied by GE Distributed Power. The engines are housed in three-story, 70- by 110-foot buildings.
"The whole business model is to site them close to natural-gas production and electric grids so it minimizes the amount of infrastructure that needs to be built," Gittins said.
In 2013, IMG signed a gas-supply agreement with Chief Oil & Gas, a Marcellus gas producer.
The flurry of power-plant projects in the Marcellus is aimed at taking advantage of the region's natural-gas price, discounted since so much gas cannot reach distant markets because of pipeline constraints. Merchant power producers can convert that gas to electricity and sell the power into the regional grid operated by PJM Interconnection Inc.
The new generation of gas plants also is displacing dirtier coal-fired power stations, cutting the output of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide emitted from coal.
IMG, formerly known as Iron Mountain Generation, is backed by New York-based private equity firm Bregal Energy.
Bregal is also an investor in Atlantic Wind Connection, a proposed transmission project off the Jersey Shore, and Inflection Energy, a Colorado oil and gas producer active in the Marcellus.