Georgia Power reports progress with coal unit retrofits

The Georgia Power unit of Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) is making progress with a number of air emissions retrofits on coal-fired capacity that is not slated to be retired under an integrated resource plan (IRP) approved earlier this year by the Georgia Public Service Commission.

The final IRP order requires Georgia Power to provide quarterly compliance reports regarding the environmental controls and fuel switches approved by the commission that will be implemented under the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) environmental compliance strategy at Bowen Units 1-4, Gaston Units 1-4, Hammond Units 1-4, McIntosh Unit 1, Scherer Units 1-3, Wansley Units 1 and 2, and Yates Units 6 and 7.

In a Nov. 25 quarterly update, the utility reported to the PSC these emissions projects:

  • Bowen Units 1 and 2 – The company will install an activated carbon injection (ACI) system and a sulfuric acid mist control (SAMC) system, also known as an alkali sorbent injection (ALK) system, and perform work on the existing electrostatic precipitators on these units. To support these systems, two of the existing on-site landfill cells will be lined for the storage or disposal of ash and sorbent mixtures from the Units 1 and 2 precipitators as well the Units 3 and 4 baghouses. Work will also be performed on the existing SO2 scrubbers, including installation of a scrubber additive system, known as Mercury Re-emission Control system (MRCS), for compliance with the MATS mercury requirements and addition of equipment redundancy on the limestone handling system to minimize unit reliability impacts from the MATS acid gas requirements. In addition, the existing Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS) will be upgraded to meet the MATS requirements.
  • Bowen Units 3 and 4 – The company will install baghouses, ACI and SAMC (ALK) systems at these units. The on-site landfill cells will be lined and used for storage or disposal of ash and sorbent collected in the baghouses. Work will also be done on the existing scrubbers, including installation of an MRCS for compliance with the MATS mercury requirements and new equipment redundancy on the limestone handling system to minimize unit reliability impacts from the MATS acid gas requirements. Also, the existing CEMS will be upgraded to meet MATS monitoring requirements. 
  • Gaston Units 1-4 – The company will install natural gas burners on Gaston Units 1-4 to allow the units to run at full capacity on 100% natural gas instead of on coal. The project will include controls, monitoring, or auxiliary equipment necessary to comply with permit requirements. A natural gas lateral is also needed to supply the site with fuel.
  • Hammond Units 1-4 – Georgia Power will install ACI and SAMC (ALK) systems and perform work on the existing electrostatic precipitators on Units 1-4. Ash collected from the precipitator will be disposed of or stored in landfill cells at the Huffaker Road site that will be lined. Work will also be done on the existing scrubber, including installation of an MRCS for compliance with the MATS mercury requirements and new equipment redundancy on the limestone handling system and other scrubber systems to minimize unit reliability impacts from the MATS acid gas requirements. Also, the existing CEMS will be upgraded to meet the MATS monitoring requirements.
  • McIntosh Unit 1 – The company will switch Unit 1 to burn mainly sub-bituminous Powder River Basin (PRB) coal instead of bituminous coal. ACI and dry sorbent injection (DSI) systems in the form of hydrated lime will be installed for MATS compliance. Ash collected from the precipitator will be disposed of or stored in on-site landfill cells that will be lined. In addition, the existing CEMS will be upgraded to meet the MATS monitoring requirements.
  • Scherer Units 1-3 – The company will install bromide injection systems on these massive units to optimize costs for compliance with MATS mercury requirements. Also, the existing CEMS will be upgraded to meet the MATS monitoring requirements.
  • Wansley Units 1 and 2 – The company will install ACI and SAMC (ALK) systems and perform work on the existing electrostatic precipitators. Work will also be done on the existing scrubbers, including installation of an MRCS for compliance with the MATS mercury requirements and new equipment redundancy on the limestone handling system to minimize unit reliability impacts from the MATS acid gas requirements. Also, the existing CEMS will be upgraded to meet MATS monitoring requirements.
  • Yates Units 6 and 7 – The company will install natural gas burners on Yates Units 6 and 7 to allow these coal units to run at full capacity on 100% natural gas. The project will include controls, monitoring, or auxiliary equipment necessary to operate the units or to comply with permit requirements.  

As for actual project work through Sept. 30:

  • Bowen Units 1 and 2 – Refurbishment of the Unit 2 precipitators is in progress.  Strengthening of the Unit 1 precipitator support steel is underway. Erection of the ACI and SAMC (ALK) electrical/mechanical buildings is underway.
  • Bowen Units 3 and 4 – Delivery of baghouse components continues and pre-assembly of these components into larger modules is underway. Deep foundations and concrete foundations are being installed. Relocation of buildings and lube oil facilities associated with the addition of new MATS control equipment is being performed.
  • Gaston Units 1-4 – Detailed design is underway. Equipment and labor contracts are being awarded. Gas pipeline activities include test drilling to investigate underground topography at the Coosa River and easements for the pipeline are being acquired. Test holes have been bored along the route to determine subsurface conditions.
  • Hammond Units 1-4 – Relocation of buildings and underground piping systems associated with the addition of new MATS control equipment is complete. Concrete foundations for the major equipment are complete. New electrical/mechanical equipment buildings are being erected.
  • McIntosh Unit 1 – Conceptual design of this work is underway.
  • Scherer Units 1-3 – Engineering studies are underway for bromide injection.
  • Wansley Units 1 and 2 – Relocation of buildings associated with the addition of new MATS control equipment is underway. Concrete foundations are complete. New electrical/mechanical equipment buildings are being erected. ACI and SAMC (ALK) silos for both units have been installed.
  • Yates Units 6 and 7 – Conceptual design of this work is underway.

These retrofits are in addition to a number of coal- and oil-unit retirements due to MATS. For example, Branch Units 3 and 4 (coal, 1,016 MW), Yates Units 1-5 (coal, 579 MW), and McManus Units 1 and 2 (oil, 122 MW) will be decertified and retired by April 16, 2015, the compliance date of the MATS rule. The decertification date of Plant Branch Unit 1 (coal) was extended from Dec. 31, 2013, as specified in the final order in the 2011 IRP to coincide with the decertification date of Plant Branch Units 3 and 4 in 2015.

The decertification and retirement of Plant Kraft Units 1-4 (coal at three units, gas/oil at Unit 4, 316 MW total) was also approved and will be effective by April 16, 2016, based on a one-year extension of the MATS rule compliance date that was approved by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division in September 2013 to allow for necessary transmission system reliability improvements.

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.