SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A $500 million natural gas power plant in Indiana is expected to be operational soon after more than two years of construction.

The St. Joseph Energy Center is set to be up and running by the end of March, The South Bend Tribune reported. The plant will create 21 full-time jobs and has been praised by St. Joseph County officials for generating property taxes.

A proposed second phase for the plant remains undetermined, but would double the plant’s size and require an additional $500 million investment. It also calls for building a 10-mile-long power line.

Bill Schalliol, St. Joseph County’s economic development director, said project officials are trying to finish acquiring land rights they need from some properties for the power line. He said once they’re secured officials would seek to have the site plan for the second phase approved by the county.

The proposed phase would double the plant’s electricity output and add 20 more jobs.

The St. Joseph County Council granted a 15-year, $60 million tax abatement for the first phase. Project officials are expected to ask for a similar tax break for phase two.

The county has estimated the current project will generate more than $40 million in property taxes over 30 years. The taxes will benefit the area tax increment financing district, supporting other projects in the immediate industrial area being developed by the county.

“Having that additional revenue coming in will certainly be a huge boost to move forward many other projects we’re looking to do in that area,” Schalliol said.


Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com