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Hard as it might be to believe, a large plant like the one which went online this summer has only two dozen employees.

While computerization makes that possible, officials of Texas-based Duke Energy say those workers, as well as the people who built the 70,000 square-foot complex, are mostly from the local area.

"This is the first combined-cycle, gas-fired power plant built in the state of Ohio," says project manager Hugh Taylor, "and with a lot of help from local people. We're very proud of it."

And that's not the only power plant coming to the area in the immediate future. PSEG Energy has been building a plant in nearby Waterford. Like the Duke plant, it is fired largely by natural gas.

"We have an infrastructure generating electric power that has served us well," says State Representative Nancy Hollister, "but we have a number of concerns about those facilities. I think you're going to see an interesting transition from those facilities."

One thing has changed since construction started on this plant. In addition to safety and the environment, security has also become an issue.

"We own and operate a number of nuclear facilities," says Duke Senior Vice-President Steve Gilliland. "We've got a really good security force, and we're confident we're in a good spot. And a lot of security in a local plant relates to the neighbors and what they see that's different than what they've always seen."

Gilliland says Duke may someday provide residential power for the area, but what's produced by this plant will be sold on the wholesale energy market.


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