Birdsboro Power gets air permit for 450 MW, gas-fired power plant

Birdsboro Power on March 22 was granted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection a final air permit for the construction of a natural gas-fired combined cycle electric generation facility located in Birdsboro Borough, Berks County.

The department said in a notice in the April 9 Pennsylvania Bulletin that the facility is designed to generate up to 450 MW (nominal) using a combustion turbine generator and a heat recovery steam generator that will provide steam to drive a steam turbine generator.

The heat recovery steam generator will be equipped with a natural gas-fired duct burner to supplement power output. The turbine is rated at 2,944 MMBtus/hr and the duct burner is rated at 500 MMBtus/hr.

A selective catalytic reduction system and oxidation catalyst in series will control NOx, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds. The project will also include a diesel emergency generator, a diesel emergency fire pump and an evaporative cooling tower.

Incidentally, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on April 7 granted a March 18 request from Birdsboro Power for a one-time, limited waiver of the Competitive Entry Exemption deadline in Attachment DD of the PJM Interconnection Open Access Transmission Tariff.

Birdsboro Power explained to FERC that its project has an active Generation Interconnection Request with PJM and received its Feasibility Study in September 2015. Birdsboro Power expected the System Impact Study to be released in March 2016. Birdsboro Power also anticipated completion of the Facilities Interconnection Study and Interconnection Services Agreement, and receipt of the Construction Service Agreement, in the first quarter of 2017. Birdsboro Power estimates the project will become operational in April 2019.

Birdsboro Power requested waiver of the Dec. 28, 2015 deadline to request a Competitive Entry Exemption for its project for the 2016 Base Residual Auction for the 2019/2020 delivery year. Birdsboro Power asserted that expedited action is warranted to provide the MMU and PJM’s Office of Interconnection sufficient time for consideration of its Competitive Entry Exemption request in advance of the 2016 BRA.

Birdsboro Power argued that its error was made in good faith. Birdsboro Power explained that its failure to timely submit its request for a Competitive Entry Exemption was inadvertent and was due, in part, to uncertainty about the feasibility of the project being in service by the 2019/2020 delivery year. Birdsboro Power anticipates that its project will be in service by April 2019.

Birdsboro said in its FERC application that it will use either General Electric or Siemens H-Series gas turbine technology in a single shaft 1×1 configuration comprised of a gas turbine, heat recovery steam generator, and steam turbine. The project will utilize wet cooling and evaporative cooling facilities. The site is a 99-acre parcel formerly home to an army tank factory.

The project company has secured site control and derives many benefits from the location including proximity to the Texas Eastern Transmission natural gas pipeline, which provides an outlet for Marcellus and Utica natural gas production, availability of onsite water resources suitable for the project’s water cooling advantage, and proximity to a suitable electrical interconnection point.

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Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy's Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication's editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University.

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