EmberClear Corp., a Calgary, Alberta-based energy developer, said on Sept. 19 that it expects to begin construction on a 300-MW natural-gas-fired generation project west of Allentown, Pa. Construction is set for mid-2013, with plans to have the powerplant on line in 2015.

Originally, the company had proposed building a 270-MW advanced coal and integrated gasification combined-cycle powerplant. However, in May, the firm changed its plan to an estimated $400-million gas-fired plant because of the favorably priced long-term contracts for natural gas, says EmberClear.

The plant, known as the Good Spring NGCC, is being built in Schuylkill County in the state's Marcellus shale area. It is permitted to generate power from both synthetic gas and natural gas and will have the option to use either fuel, says Keith Clauss, president and CEO of SK E&C USA, the Houston-based engineering and construction company awarded the project's engineer-procure-construction (EPC) contract.

The company is in the process of performing conceptual engineering to determine the total installed cost of the project, Clauss says.

SK E&C USA is a subsidiary of SK E&C, a Seoul, Korea-based company. It has a second subsidiary in the U.S., SK E&C BETEK, located in Irvine, Calif., Clauss says. The parent firm ranks at No. 47 on ENR's list of the Top 225 Global Contractors, reporting $5.7 billion in global revenue in 2011.

"We expect the U.S. natural-gas-based power market to rapidly expand over the next decade, especially in the Marcellus shale geography," Clauss said. The company has been adding jobs in the U.S., he adds. The subsidiary opened in 2007 as a technology office but expanded in 2009 to a full-service EPC office, Clauss notes.

“With long-term contracts for natural gas being so competitively priced, [it is] a compelling opportunity to quickly move into contracting and construction with higher-than-historical returns. We intend to capitalize on this market condition,” says Albert Lin, EmberClear CEO.