Astoria Generating nears permit for repaired New York gas unit

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is taking public comment until Oct. 18 on a draft air permit change that would allow Astoria Generating Co. LP to repair a boiler damaged in 2011 due to a mechanical problem.

The Astoria Generating Station (AGS) consists of four large boilers that currently operate on No. 6 fuel oil and natural gas and have a total capacity of about 1,300 MW. This application is for the repair of Boiler 40 (Emission Source 40), which is a tangentially-fired Combustion Engineering unit rated at 4,074 MMBtu/hr.

In July 2011, an event occurred in Boiler 40 that caused damage to the boiler. Repairs identified were extensive enough to fall outside of what would be considered normal or routine repairs and therefore they require a modification to the existing Title V Permit, the department noted. The original boiler commenced operation in 1958 as a coal burning unit and was converted to burn No. 6 residual fuel oil and/or natural gas in 1970.

The plant is located in the town and county of Queens. It consists of four very large boilers, one small boiler, and one simple cycle combustion turbine.

  • Emission Unit A-S0001 consists of one natural gas-fired 1,795 MMBtu/hr Babcock & Wilcox boiler Boiler 20 (Emission Source 00020) and one natural gas-fired auxiliary boiler of 37.8 mmbtu/hr. The emissions are exhausted through one stack (Emission Point 00021).
  • Emission Unit A-S0002 is a natural gas- and residual oil-fired 3,984 MMBtu/hr Babcock & Wilcox boiler, Boiler 30 (Emission Source 00030). The emissions from Boiler 30 are exhausted through two different stacks (Emission Points 00031 and 0032).
  • Emission Unit A-S0003 is a natural gas- and residual oil-fired 4,074 MMBtu/hr Combustion Engineering boiler, Boiler 40 (Emission Source 00040). The emissions from Boiler 40 are exhausted through two different stacks (Emission Points 00041 and 00042).
  • Emission Unit A-S0004 is a natural gas- and residual oil-fired 4,094 MMBtu/hr Combustion Engineering boiler, Boiler 50 (Emission Source 00050). The emissions from Boiler 50 are exhausted through two different stacks (Emission Points 00051 and 00052).
  • Emission Unit A-S0005 is a natural gas-fired 243 MMBtu/hr GE Model 5000L simple-cycle combustion turbine, GT001 (Emission Source GT001). The emissions from GT001 are exhausted through one stack (Emission Point GT001).

US Power Generating has offered a repaired Unit 40 as a new resource

In response to a New York Power Authority (NYPA) request for proposal (RFP) for alternatives in case the Indian Point nuclear plant has to be shut, US Power Generating has lately offered the Astoria Unit 40 restoration project. A copy of that offer was filed on June 20 at the New York State Public Service Commission in the docket for the Indian Point shutdown case. A number of other power producers in the state have also offered projects within this RFP, most of them gas-fired.

Unit 40, shut since 2011, can be brought to market expeditiously and with low execution risk, the company proposal said. It can be operational by April 2015, well ahead of any contingency need. The project has low construction risk given substantial use of existing infrastructure, including the existing Astoria Station building and all related electric transmission and natural gas interconnections.

The Unit 40 restoration project will add 387 MW of natural gas-fired (with low-sulfur No. 6 fuel oil back-up) generation into Zone J NYC. The project will be physically located at the existing Astoria Generating Station site and will interconnect into both the Astoria East and West substations on the 138-kV system. The project will provide In-City (Zone J) capacity, dual-fuel and dual-yard generation capability, and ancillary services including Regulation, Black Start, Voltage Support, and Operating Reserves to maintain grid stability in this critical area. It is anticipated that the project, with a full load heat rate of about 9,800 BTU/kWh, will be dispatched regularly during peak load periods and during system disturbances and will displace less efficient generators during those times.

The Unit 40 project will be developed, owned and operated by US Power Generating, a private energy company based in Stamford Conn., through its Astoria Generating Co. (AGC) subsidiary. The Unit 40 project will be housed within the existing Astoria Station building, which is located in Astoria, Queens.

The Astoria station currently consists of two active dual-fueled (natural gas and low-sulfur No. 6 fuel oil) units (Units 30 and 50), and a small natural gas-fired simple-cycle combustion turbine (GT-1), providing a total capacity of about 777 MW. The Astoria Station also includes two currently inactive or “mothballed” units, which are Unit 20, a 183-MW gas-fired generator, as well as Unit 40. The new project will return the currently inactive Unit 40 to service.

The most substantial part of the project is repairing the reheat section of the boiler which was damaged when the unit experienced a pressure excursion in July 2011. The unit was then placed in a “mothball” state pending repairs. In addition to the reheat section of the boiler, the project includes the installation of control system upgrades to better manage operations, modern burner management and fire suppression systems to increase reliability and safety and variable speed drives and intake screens to mitigate aquatic environmental impacts, the company noted.

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.