The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said April 30 that will hold public hearings and companion information sessions on May 3 related to the recently-proposed NOx emissions limits for the coal-fired Reid Gardner power plant in Moapa Valley, Nevada.
The proposed NOx limits are part of the agency’s national effort to reduce regional haze affecting protected national parks and wilderness areas. The NOx proposal was published on April 12 in the Federal Register and would establish lower limits for NOx emissions under federal and state plans that require the facility to install Best Available Retrofit Technology to control these emissions. The Reid Gardner plant is controlled by NV Energy (NYSE: NVE).
On May 3, EPA will host two separate public hearings as well as informational sessions in advance of the public hearings. The first hearing and follow-on information session will be at an auditorium of the Moapa Band of Paiutes in Moapa. The second hearing and information session are at Moapa Valley Empowerment High School in Overton. The agency intends to respond to comments and take final action no later than July 13.
EPA said in the April 12 Federal Register notice that it plans to approve and partially disapprove the remaining portion of a revision to the Nevada State Implementation Plan (SIP) to implement the regional haze program for the first planning period through July 31, 2018. The agency wants to approve the part of Nevada’s Regional Haze SIP that requires Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) for emissions of NOx from Units 1 and 2 at Reid Gardner. EPA is proposing to disapprove the NOx emissions limit for Unit 3.
EPA is also proposing, under a plan that is up for comment until May 14, to disapprove the provision of the Reid Gardner BART determination that sets a 12-month rolling average for Reid Gardner Units 1-3.
In its BART determination for Reid Gardner, Nevada regulators considered several control technologies, including selective catalytic reduction (SCR), cheaper but less effective selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) and rotating overfire air (ROFA) with Rotamix. Nevada concluded that SCR would result in a very small incremental improvement of visibility, which did not justify the incremental cost of installing SCR. EPA said its analysis was a bit different, but that it supports Nevada’s decision to establish a NOx BART emission limit that could be achieved with ROFA and Rotamix (or SNCR) rather than requiring an emission limit consistent with SCR.
So, the federal agency is proposing to approve Nevada’s determination that NOx BART for Units 1-2 is a limit of 0.2 lbs/MMBtu, which can be achieved with ROFA with Rotamix, or with SNCR with low-NOx burners (LNB) and overfire air (OFA). It proposes to disapprove Nevada’s NOx BART determination for Reid Gardner Unit 3 and the SIP’s provision to measure NOx emissions from Units 1-3 on a 12-month rolling average. The FIP proposes a NOx BART emissions limit for Reid Gardner Unit 3 of 0.2 lbs/MMbtu and a requirement that NOx emissions for RGGS Units 1-3 are to be measured on a rolling 30-day average (across all three units).
RGGS is a coal-fueled plant with four operating units producing a total of 557 MW. Three of the units, built in 1965, 1968, and 1976, are BART eligible and were determined by the state of Nevada to be subject to BART. Each of these units produces about 100 MW. At present, the units are equipped with LNB and OFA, mechanical collectors for particulate control, wet scrubbers that use soda ash for SO2 removal and recently-installed baghouses.