EPA agrees to delay haze decision for Four Corners coal plant

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has agreed with an Arizona Public Service request to extend the deadline to act on a regional haze requirement for new NOx controls for the coal-fired Four Corners Power Plant (FCPP).

In August 2012, EPA took final action to promulgate a Federal Implementation Plan (FIP) to implement the Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) requirement of the Regional Haze Rule for the FCPP, located on the Navajo Nation. EPA’s final action required the owners of FCPP to choose between two compliance options: compliance with the emission limits in EPA’s final BART determination; or compliance with an alternative to BART, originally put forth by the owners of FCPP, that included closure of Units 1-3 and installation of new air pollution controls to meet BART limits on Units 4 and 5.

EPA’s final action required the owners of FCPP to provide notification to EPA by July 1 of its selection of which BART compliance strategy it would implement. On June 19, Arizona Public Service (APS), the operator and a co-owner of FCPP, requested that EPA extend the notification date from July 1 to Dec. 31, due to new uncertainties that complicate its decision related to BART compliance.

“These uncertainties result from a recent decision by the Arizona Corporation Commission to explore retail competition of the electricity market in Arizona,” EPA said in a notice to be published in the July 11 Federal Register. “Because the basis provided by APS for an extended notification date is reasonable and justified given the uncertainties in the electrical market in Arizona, EPA is proposing to extend the date by which APS must notify EPA of its BART compliance strategy, from July 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013. EPA is not proposing to amend any other requirements in the FIP for FCPP.”

FCPP is a privately owned and operated coal-fired power plant located on the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation near Farmington, N.M. The facility consists of five coal-fired steam units with a total capacity of 2,060 MW. Units 1, 2, and 3 are owned entirely by APS which serves as the facility operator, and are rated at 170 MW (Units 1 and 2) and 220 MW (Unit 3). Units 4 and 5 are each rated at 750 MW, and are co-owned by six entities: Southern California Edison (48%, with APS to tentatively buy this share), APS (15%), Public Service Co. of New Mexico (13%), Salt River Project (10%), El Paso Electric (7%), and Tucson Electric Power (7%).

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.