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Moriah Energy Center request on Monday agenda

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(The Center Square) – Opposition is expected Monday when the commissioners of a North Carolina county convene and consider approval of a new liquified gas storage facility.

Dominion Energy plans to invest $400 million and gained no local incentives in buying property from five owners of the land. If approved, construction could generate 300 jobs, local and state tax revenues could generate $1 million and officials say the 25-million-gallon Moriah Energy Center would create $43 million in economic activity.

Plans were announced in August.

Commissioners lead off their meeting with the annual leadership position elections of a chairman and vice chairman. Then comes the public hearing and consideration of a zoning request from rural conservation and residential to general industrial.

The site will cover more than 485 acres.

According to published reports, and letters to the editor, there is opposition and worry about safety. There is also belief that a planning board’s recommended approval will be followed by commissioners’ approval.

Liquified natural gas, termed LNG in the industry, is “a clear, colorless and non-toxic liquid which forms when natural gas is cooled to -260F. The cooling process shrinks the volume of the gas 600 times, making it easier and safer to store. The facility will be designed to receive natural gas and liquefy the gas for bulk storage on site,” Dominion says on its website.

It also adds, “Natural gas will primarily be transported using the existing Dominion Energy underground pipeline system already serving customers in the area and on the facility’s property. The facility will also have trucking capabilities, though this is expected to only occur during rare instances and will not be a part of routine operations.”

Customers in the region will be served, meaning beyond Person County. Construction could begin next year and service in 2026. Dominion, headquartered in Richmond, Va., serves about 7 million customers in 15 states with energy for homes and businesses through electricity and natural gas.

The site is roughly halfway between inner Durham and the Virginia border. Durham, Oxford and Roxboro are communities forming a triangle around it, each about 20 miles or less away.

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