NIPSCO okayed for new air emissions controls at seven coal units

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission on Oct. 10 approved a series of new air emissions control projects by Northern Indiana Public Service Co. (NIPSCO) on coal-fired capacity to meet federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) compliance needs.

On Feb. 22, NIPSCO had filed for approval of these projects, the latest in a series of air emissions installations needed to comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandates.

NIPSCO’s MATS Compliance Plan includes different types of capital projects: activated carbon injection (ACI) and coal additives to reduce mercury emissions and transformer rectifier (TR) sets to reduce particulate matter (PM) emissions; and several incremental operating and maintenance (O&M) projects necessary to reduce emissions of mercury and PM to levels required by the MATS rule.

The MATS capital projects that the commission approved include the following:

  • Bailly Unit 7 (160 MW), ACI (mercury reduction) and fuel additives (mercury reduction);
  • Bailly Unit 8 (320 MW), ACI and fuel additives;
  • Michigan City Unit 12 (469 MW), ACI and fuel additives;
  • Schahfer Unit 14 (431 MW), ACI, fuel additives and TR sets (PM reduction);
  • Schahfer Unit 15 (472 MW), ACI, fuel additives and TR sets;
  • Schahfer Unit 17 (361 MW), TR sets; and
  • Schahfer Unit 18 (361 MW), TR sets.

The O&M projects include:

  • Precipitator and FGD mist eliminator cleaning on Units 7 and 8;
  • Unit 15 ESP flow modeling; and
  • Schahfer Air and Water Testing (Units 14, 15, 17 and 18).

The compliance deadline for NIPSCO’s Units 7, 8, 17 and 18 is three years after the effective date of the MATS rule or April 16, 2015, the commission noted. The compliance deadline for NIPSCO’s Units 12, 14 and 15 is April 16, 2016, because NIPSCO has been granted a one-year extension based upon a demonstration that additional time is needed in order to install control technology.

The commission noted that there are essentially two primary compliance options for NIPSCO: retire some or all of NIPSCO’s coal-fired units and replace the retired energy and capacity; or install pollution control equipment to reduce regulated emissions. With respect to the “retire and replace” option, NIPSCO’s simulation analysis showed the cost to be greater than the retrofit option.

The fuel additive projects are designed to add halogenated compounds to coal and thus to the combustion process. Fuel additive systems, such as calcium bromide and calcium chloride, are a low capital cost option for improving mercury capture for units equipped with pollution controls, including flue gas desulfurization (FGD), that have a low proportion of oxidized mercury to elemental mercury.

The total estimated costs for the MATS capital projects is $59.28m. This represents $52m of direct capital, $7.28m of indirect capital and excludes allowance for funds used during construction (AFUDC).

NIPSCO is a unit of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI).

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.