Idaho commission sets schedule for Bridger SCR project review

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission on Aug. 30 laid out the procedural schedule for Idaho Power’s June 28 request for permission to add new selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems on Units 3 and 4 of the Jim Bridger coal plant in Wyoming.

Idaho Power is seeking a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) for these regional haze controls and inclusion of the investment in Idaho Power’s rate base once the SCR controls are installed and operational. The company requested that the commission issue an order approving the CPCN no later than Nov. 29.

In an Aug. 30 notice, the commission said the case schedule from here includes:

  • Prefiled direct testimony deadline for intervenors and commission staff of Oct. 11;
  • Rebuttal testimony deadline for Idaho Power on Nov. 13;
  • Deadline for the filing of legal briefs of Nov. 15; and
  • Technical hearing on Nov. 22.

Idaho Power owns one-third of the Jim Bridger plant (the other owner is PacifiCorp), which is located near Rock Springs, Wyo. The Jim Bridger plant consists of four units and is the “workhorse” of ldaho Power’s thermal fleet. After adjustment for scheduled maintenance periods and estimated forced outages, the annual energy generating capability of ldaho Power’s share of Jim Bridger is about 625 MW average. Of ldaho Power’s entire thermal generation fleet, it has the lowest dispatch cost and the lowest installed cost of nameplate capacity to operate.

The Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) appeal settlement agreement with the state of Wyoming, and also the Wyoming Regional Haze State lmplementation Plan, require the installation of SCR on Unit 3 by the end of 2015 and on Unit 4 by the end of 2016. On May 23, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommended approval of the Wyoming Regional Haze SIP for installation of SCR on Jim Bridger Units 3 and 4. The EPA has indicated it will sign a notice of final rulemaking on Nov. 21, 2013, making these emission reduction mandates at Units 3 and 4 federally enforceable as well.

If the environmental upgrades are not installed within the time frame given by the state of Wyoming or the EPA, ldaho Power said it would be forced to stop generating from these units.

In August 2012, PacifiCorp filed a CPCN with the Wyoming Public Service Commission to construct these SCR systems, as well as a voluntary request to construct the SCRs with the Public Service Commission of Utah. On May 10, the Utah commission issued its final report and order approving the SCRs. On May 29, the Wyoming commission approved a CPCN for the SCRs.

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.