NRG permits coal-to-gas conversion at Shawville plant in Pennsylvania

NRG REMA has applied to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for a proposed natural gas addition to the utility boilers at the coal-fired Shawville Generating Station located in Clearfield County, said the DEP in a notice published in the Sept. 26 Pennsylvania Bulletin.

The plan approval application indicates that the utility boilers will be retrofitted with burners to accommodate natural gas. The proposed change in method of operation of the utility boilers will result in air contaminant emissions increases less than de minimis emissions levels.

The company’s New Source Review applicability determination calculations show that there will be a total increase of annual VOC emissions from the utility boilers equal to about 18.3 tons per year. The total annual VOC emissions from the utility boilers, based on the NSR calculations, are equal to about 23.8 tons per year.

The DEP said its review of the information submitted by NRG REMA indicates that the proposed change in method of operation will comply with all applicable regulatory requirements, including NSR requirements. Additionally, the proposed change in method of operation shows that the utility boilers upon startup will comply with all applicable Mercury and Air Toxics Standards requirements.

The utility boilers are currently shut down. The company is planning to perform startup of the utility boilers sometime after the completion of the natural gas addition, the DEP noted.

NRG Energy deactivated the four coal units at Shawville on a scattered schedule between June 2 and June 14. A PJM Interconnection list of deactivated power units in its region shows: a June 2 deactivation of Unit 4 (175 MW); a June 7 deactivation of Unit 3 (175 MW); a June 12 deactivation of Unit 1 (122 MW); and a June 14 deactivation of Unit 2 (125 MW). There had been a plan to deactivate the units as of May 31, but PJM indicated that extra time was taken to burn down the plant’s coal piles.

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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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