Tuesday, July 21, 2015 marked the ceremonial groundbreaking for Carroll County Energy (CCE), a new 700 MW natural gas-fired power plant in Carrollton, Ohio and a portfolio investment of the Ullico Infrastructure Fund (UIF).
The groundbreaking event brought together people that had worked for years to make CCE a reality— community leaders eager to share in the enthusiasm, and partners and investors who provided much of the resources, funding and drive towards this culmination of team effort.
There was much to celebrate, from the construction work already well underway to the federal grant money flowing into Carrollton's schools. One of the first speakers at the event was David Quattrochi, the Superintendent of Carrollton Exempted Village Schools (CEVS). Carrollton serves nearly 2,300 prekindergarten through 12th-grade students in communities throughout rural Carroll County, which has a population of 29,000. About 50 percent of the district's students are eligible for free and reduced-price meals.
Superintendent Quattrochi highlighted that with the help of Advanced Power (CCE's developer and partner to UIF in the long-term investment), Carrollton Schools recently received two Straight A grants totaling $5 million from the Ohio Department of Education. He was thrilled, reminding the group that "the school district is over 100 years old and the youngest buildings were built in 1952."
CEVS has lost millions in federal and state funding over the last decade, and cuts have resulted in the closing of three of 8 local schools in 2008; reductions in teachers and administrators; and elimination of many bus routes. The Straight A Grant program is designed to encourage innovation, and new ideas and ways to solve problems.
"Our first grant proposal was focused on one major goal—creating partnerships with Carroll County Energy and agricultural industries and others to provide more college preparatory and job training opportunities for all students," said Quattrochi. Out of nearly 600 applicants, Carrollton was one of 24 districts and education consortiums to receive an innovation grant. In addition to the upfront grant money, the school district will receive approximately $1.7 million annually from an Enterprise Zone Agreement with CCE driven by the revenues of the new power plant.
As was evident at the ceremony, being a good neighbor and building a long-term partnership with the local community is the first rule of business for Advanced Power and one of the key reasons UIF was attracted to this investment and partnership.
In addition to working with local schools throughout the process, Advanced Power has prioritized local hiring and local sourcing as well. Construction of the facility will be an $899 million investment in Carroll County. ERDG Inc., an independent economic consulting firm, forecasts that CCE will generate direct economic impact of $655 million and 500 new construction jobs. It will have an indirect economic impact of $62.5 million and 156 new jobs from purchase of local supplies and services.
Bechtel is the EPC contractor for the entire project and a project labor agreement is in place. Several representatives from the East Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades joined the festivities and participated in the ceremonial groundbreaking with Ullico. Dave Kirven, president, East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council and business agent, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local No. 94, was on hand for the event and is hopeful projects like CCE will lead to continued opportunities for his membership and the community.
Note: The Ullico Infrastructure Fund and the units issued will not be registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, or under state securities laws. Investment in infrastructure is speculative, not suitable for all investors, and should be undertaken only by experienced and sophisticated investors who are willing to bear the high risks of such an investment, which include, but are not limited to, lack of liquidity, restrictions on transferring ownership to the Fund, absence of information regarding valuation and pricing, and high fees and expenses. Potential investors in the Fund should carefully read the Confidential Private Placement Memorandum for a description of the potential risks associated with investment in the Fund.