The Upper Hanover location, between Ziegler and Kraussdale Roads along Route 29, is about five miles from the proposed site of the $300 million Panda plant, a 1,000-megawatt, four-stack, natural-gas-fired facility. Both sites are zoned for limited industrial and commercial use.
Panda's proposal has been vehemently opposed by Partners for Community Preservation, a residents' group that says the plant would be inappropriate in a limited-industrial and commercial zone, and that a plan to generate electricity using treated wastewater piped 80 miles from Allentown would be a health hazard.
PPL officials said they were not worried about community resistance.
"We don't anticipate that much protest, at least not as much as Panda" has received, said Jim Burns, the company's director of community development for Montgomery, Bucks and Northampton Counties.
The PPL plant would use "peaking" generators, designed primarily to be started rapidly and operated only during periods of high energy demand, such as hot summer months, Burns said. No such plants exist in the state, he said.
Two preassembled generating units with capacities of about 45 megawatts each would be used, Burns said, for a total output about 10 times less than that of the proposed Panda plant.
PPL also would employ a "simple cycle" process in which a natural-gas turbine would produce electricity without the secondary steam-driven turbine that the Panda plant would use. Therefore, Burns said, the plant would not require water to cool a closed steam/water system, nor would it require cooling towers.
Al Baccari, township supervisors chairman, said it was too early to tell whether residents would oppose the PPL plant.
At an Upper Hanover Planning Commission meeting Wednesday night, zoning expert Fronefield Crawford, hired by the township, indicated in a report that a plant would not be appropriate according to the zoning ordinance, Baccari said.
Although the PPL proposal "dwarfs in comparison" to Panda, Baccari said, they are subject to the same zoning regulations. Any interpretation of the zoning code in the Panda case likely would apply to the PPL plant. Panda must go before the Zoning Hearing Board to receive a variance for the plant. If a variance is denied, the company indicated to the township that it would take the matter to county court, Baccari said.
Burns said PPL would "move forward under the assumption that [a power plant] is a permitted use." If it is not, he said, the company will appeal to the township Zoning Hearing Board for a variance.
Evonne Glen, cochairwoman of Partners for Community Preservation, said the group was "waiting for [PPL] to bring us more information" before it formed an opinion about the proposal.
PPL's Montgomery County facility is proposed for Hatfield Township, on Elroy Road near Derstine Road.
In Lancaster County, power plants are planned for West Earl Township, West Hempfield Township, and Eden Township.
Burns said PPL probably would submit formal applications to the municipalities in next several weeks.
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