CLEARFIELD – “Energy-intense” industries are being sought for the 1,987-acre River Hill Power Co. property in Karthaus, according to Rob Swales, chief executive officer of the Clearfield County Economic Development Corp. (CCEDC).
Several years ago, River Hill Power wanted to construct a waste coal generation facility on the property. It invested in excess of $40 million into site development, including infrastructure upgrades and roadway access to accommodate heavy industrial traffic, said Swales.
“They invested a tremendous amount of money,” he said, “and unfortunately those plans fell through.” The industrial property, he said, is now available for sale for $12.5 million and the CCEDC is “actively pursuing” energy-intense industries.
While the CCEDC has been pursuing both domestic and international leads, Swales said the strongest players are international and based in countries with extensive energy production costs. U.S. utility rates, he said, are drastically lower than those in Europe, Australia, China and Japan.
According to him, the CCEDC has been working with Foreign Direct Investment officers who represent more than 40 countries. The agency, he said, has been helping with the recruitment of industrial prospects for the River Hill property.
“The site has immense infrastructure and proximity to major electrical transmission lines, which is why River Hill wanted to locate a power plant there,” said Swales. “It also has proximity to natural gas transmission lines and access to the Susquehanna River and to rail.”
He said that with the River Hill property having all of this existing infrastructure and competitive electric and natural gas rates in the United States, it becomes more attractive from an international standpoint. He noted that projects neither happen overnight nor do decisions related to massive outlays of capital for large-scale projects.
In 2014, he said the CCEDC has worked with multiple prospects from various countries. He said these prospects are now fulfilling their “due diligence,” the CCEDC is continuing to promote the River Hill property and utilizing its international connections through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“Moving forward, we plan to hit the international markets hard in 2015,” said Swales.