EPA issues air permit for new gas plant in Massachusetts

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said April 12 that it has issued a final Clean Air Act permit for the construction of the Pioneer Valley Energy Center, a new 431 MW/hr combined cycle gas turbine facility in Westfield, Mass.

This Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) air permit requires the developer to: install best available control technology to reduce all air pollutants which it will emit in significant amounts; demonstrate, using air dispersion modeling, its emissions will not cause or contribute to a violation of any national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS); and prevent existing air quality in the area to deteriorate beyond specific levels that the Clean Air Act allows to protect air that is already cleaner than the NAAQS.

Pioneer Valley will install post-combustion controls to minimize emissions of NOx and carbon monoxide. In addition, the facility will use natural gas and ultra low sulfur diesel fuel to minimize emissions of fine particulate matter and sulfuric acid mist. Pioneer Valley is also minimizing greenhouse gas emissions through the application of energy efficient equipment.

“The Energy Center represents a $400 million dollar investment in construction and component installation, bringing valuable construction-related economic activity over several periods of several years,” said the Pioneer Valley Energy Center website. “In the long term, between 15 and 20 permanent, high-skill, licensed positions will be created to operate and maintain the facility.”

The Energy Center will be located in a long-established industrial zone, surrounded on all sides by other industrial development, the website added. The plant is designed to generate 400 MW, enough to power 430,000 area homes, it said. “The power will first go to Westfield and the surrounding communities; any unused power will be distributed on the New England grid.”

Pioneer Valley Energy Center’s parent company is Energy Management Inc. of Boston, developer of the Cape Wind project.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
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.