Shawnee natural gas plant in Texas moves forward with new approval

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said in a Sept. 16 notice, that was posted to its website on Sept. 29, that it intends to approve an application by Shawnee Energy Center for a Greenhouse Gas Prevention of Significant Deterioration Air Quality Permit that would authorize construction of the roughly 900 MW Shawnee Energy Center near Abbott in Hill County, Texas.

This application was submitted to the TCEQ in November 2014, which is right after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency turned over greenhouse gas permitting in the state to the commission.

The TCEQ executive director has determined that the emissions of air contaminants from the proposed facility, which are subject to PSD review, will not violate any state or federal air quality regulations and will not have any significant adverse impact on soils, vegetation or visibility. The executive director has completed the technical review of the application and prepared a draft permit, which, if approved, would establish the conditions under which the facility must operate.

Shawnee Energy Center proposes to construct four new natural gas-fired combustion turbine generators. The turbines will be either the Siemens SGT6-500F model or the General Electric 7FA.05TP model, operating as peaking units in simple cycle. Four dewpoint heaters will be installed to warm the fuel as needed during cold weather. An emergency diesel generator and firewater pump will also be installed and will operate at 100 hours (each) per year for maintenance and readiness testing.

The commission had said in a July 31 notice, posted to its website on Aug. 5, that it intends to approve air permitting that would allow Shawnee Energy Center to build this gas-fired peaking project of over 900 MW in Hill County. Shawnee Energy Center applied in November 2014 for non-greenhouse gas air permits for this project.

The July 31 notice said: “Shawnee Energy Center proposes to install four new natural gas fired combustion turbine generators. The CTGs will either be the General Electric 7FA (about 227 MW each) or the Siemens SGT6-5000F (about 230 MW each), operating as peaking units in simple cycle mode.” That would mean a total capacity of 908 MW on the GE turbines and 920 MW on the Siemens turbines.

The public comment period on those non-GHG permits ended on Sept. 9, and the TCEQ database indicates that no final permits had been issued as of Sept. 29.

The project appears on the website of Chicago-based Lincoln Clean Energy, which is developing other power projects in Texas, as well.

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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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