Gainesville Regional Utilities, in a move to opt the coal-fired Unit 2 at its Deerhaven power plant out of the reasonable progress program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Haze rule, is drastically lowering the SO2 emissions cap for that unit.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection went out for public comment on June 1 on a draft air permit change covering the cap reduction. The DEP noted that a prior permit authorized the installation of air pollution control devices, including a circulating dry scrubber (CDS) system for Unit 2, to reduce emissions of SO2 and SO3 to provide full flexibility under the Clean Air Interstate Rule. Another permit established an annual SO2 emissions cap for Unit 2 of 8,005 tons per year in order to allow for the addition of a biomass-fired unit at the facility without triggering a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) review.
“GRU has determined that there is additional scrubbing capacity available within the CDS and is committing to operating it at a higher level of control in order to assure that Unit 2 will not be subject to the reasonable progress requirements of the Regional Haze State Implementation Plan,” said a DEP permitting notice. “If an applicant can show that the ratio (Q/D) of their SO2 annual emissions (Q in tons) divided by the distance (D in kilometers) from a Class 1 area is less than 50, then the emissions source is considered to not have a significant impact on the Class 1 area and is not subject to the reasonable progress requirements of the Regional Haze State Implementation Plan. The nearest Class 1 area to the Deerhaven Generating Station is the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, which is 112.2 kilometers away. With an annual SO2 emissions cap of 5,500 tons, the Q/D ratio is 5,500/112.2 = 49.0 tons/yr/km.”
Based on Gainesville’s request, the permit will be changed to reduce the annual SO2 emissions cap from 8,005 tons per year to 5,500 tons per year. This reduced cap must be complied with upon the issuance date of this permit.
The Gainesville website noted: “The Air Quality Control System at the coal-burning unit at Deerhaven includes technology that reduces NOx emissions by at least 90 percent and SO2 emissions by at least 85 percent and removes nearly all particulate matter.” The website also said: “Unit 2 at the Deerhaven Generating Station burns coal but is equipped with an electrostatic precipitator that removes more than 99% of the particulates.”
The GenerationHub database shows Unit 2 with 251 MW of nameplate capacity and 222 MW of summer net capacity. U.S. Energy Information Administration data shows Deerhaven in March getting coal from: Blackhawk Mining LLC (Burke Branch Tipple in Kentucky); Patriot Coal Sales (Fanco in West Virginia); and Alpha Coal (No. 1 Plant in Kentucky).