Indiana agency issues air permit for 1,350-MW gas plant

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management on Dec. 3 issued a prevention of significant deterioration air permit to St. Joseph Energy Center LLC for its 1,350 MW (nominal) gas-fired power project, to be located at New Carlisle in St. Joseph County, Ind.

The permit covers four natural gas-fired combined cycle combustion turbines, identified as units CCCT1, CCCT2, CCCT3, and CCCT4, each with a combustion turbine equipped with dry low NOx burners, natural gas fired duct burners, and a heat recovery steam generator identified as HRSG1, HRSG2, HRSG3, and HRSG4. NOx emissions would be controlled by four selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems (SCR01, SCR02, SCR03 and SCR04), with carbon monoxide (CO) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions controlled by oxidation catalyst systems (CAT01, CAT02, CAT03 and CAT04) and exhausting to stacks CCCT01, CCCT02, CCCT03, and CCCT04, respectively.

Each stack would have continuous emissions monitors (CEMS) for NOx and CO. The nominal heat input for each CCCT is 2,300 MMBtu/hr (higher heating value (HHV)). The combined nominal power output is 1,350 MW.

There would also be two natural gas-fired auxiliary boilers, identified as B001 and B002, each with a maximum heat input capacity of 80 MMBtu/hr (HHV), equipped with low NOx burners (LNB) with flue gas recirculation (FGR) to reduce NOx emissions, and exhausting to stacks B001 and B002.

Company seeks exemption from Indiana utility commission

On Sept. 7, the company asked the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to enter decline to exercise jurisdiction, under Indiana code, over the construction, ownership and operation of a 1,345-MW combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant located in St. Joseph County. It requested that the commission decline to exercise any jurisdiction to: require it to obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity to construct the project: and regulate construction, ownership and operation of, and other activities in connection with the project.

St. Joseph Energy Center noted that it is a subsidiary of an investment fund managed by EIF Management LLC.

The planned project consists of two CCGT “power blocks,” each of which will consist of two gas turbines, two heat recovery steam generators and a steam turbine, it told the commission. The project will exclusively serve the wholesale power market, and the company said it does not intend to recover the costs of the project from Indiana ratepayers through rate base, rate of return or comparable methods typically associated with retail public utility rates. The company added that it will not engage in electric transmission other than that which is incidental to the ownership and operation of the project.

SJEC made a follow-up filing on Sept. 10 with the commission that included testimony from Willard Ladd, a Principal at Development Partners Group LLC. To provide the necessary investment capital required to develop, construct and run these power plants, Development Partners partnered with Energy Investors Funds, Ladd noted. Energy Investors Funds is a family of funds managed by EIF Management. Development Partners is currently developing over 2,700 MW of natural gas fired power plants across the U.S. including over 2,000 MW of combined cycle gas turbine power plants in Indiana.

Project aimed at big hole in Indiana created by coal plant retirements

In early 2010, Development Partners concluded that there was a clear need for new power plants emerging in Indiana, Ladd testified. Economic and population growth in the state as well as the expected retirement of a large portion of Indiana’s coal-fired power plants due to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations are creating the need. Both the Purdue University State Utility Forecasting Group’s (SUFG) “Indiana Electricity Projections: The 2011 Forecast” and Integrated Resource Plans (IRP) submitted to the commission by Indiana utilities in November 2011 have confirmed this, Ladd said.

The SUFG’s base case in the November 2011 report forecasted a new power resource need of 2,600 MW by 2020. In January 2012, the SUFG increased this forecast to a new resource need of 2,960 MW by 2020, when taking into account U.S. EPA regulations.

In addition to the SUFG reports, Northern Indiana Public ServiceDuke Energy Indiana, Indianapolis Power & LightIndiana Michigan PowerSouthern Indiana Gas and ElectricHoosier Energy and Wabash Valley Power Association submitted IRPs in November 2011 that forecasted a need for new power plants in Indiana. Together, these utilities documented a combined need of over 1,700 MW (assuming a 30% capacity credit for wind power plants) before 2020, Ladd wrote.

Indiana consumer counselor backs the project

Indiana commission records show the docket opened Sept. 7 as still open as of Dec. 7. In Nov. 20 testimony, Ronald Keen from the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) noted that the project will interconnect one 670 MW power block with the Midwest ISO regional transmission system at Northern Indiana Public Service’s Stillwell substation, while the second 675 MW power block will interconnect with the PJM regional transmission system at the American Electric Power Dumont-Olive substation.

“The OUCC believes this Project will offer the consumer a generation resource that will also have a positive impact on the state’s economy, especially at the local level,” Keen wrote. “Petitioner has shown in testimony the project has the capability to foster economic growth within the local community through the potential creation of over 1,762 direct, indirect and induced jobs during the construction phase of the project and 187 direct, indirect and induced full-time permanent positions associated with the completed project.”

The OUCC recommended that the commission:

  • grant the company a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the project;
  • approve St. Joseph Energy Center’s request for the IURC to decline to exercise any jurisdiction in all respects over petitioner’s construction, ownership and operation of, and other activities in connection with the SJEC project; and
  • order the company to submit periodic reports on the status of the SJEC 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.