The Indiana Department of Environmental Management on Dec. 26, the same day the application was filed, agreed to extend the construction start deadline under air permits for the Indiana Gasification LLC power and synthetic natural gas (SNG) project.
The agency’s Office of Air Quality extended the construction start deadline by six months, to June 27, 2014. All other conditions in the project’s air permits remain the same.
The Indiana Supreme Court on Dec. 17 affirmed an order of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approving a contract for the purchase of SNG from the coal-fed Indiana Gasification project.
In 2009, the Indiana General Assembly passed the Substitute Natural Gas Act, authorizing the Indiana Finance Authority (IFA) to contract for the purchase of SNG to be delivered to “retail end use customers.” In January 2011, IFA executed a contract with Indiana Gasification for the purchase of SNG. Several regulated gas utilities, including Indiana Gas and Southern Indiana Gas and Electric, objected to the contract at the commission, saying there was risk in future years of above-market gas prices under this contract. After an evidentiary hearing, the IURC found the contract guarantees the required savings and approved the contract. Various groups then appealed that order.
The Indiana Gasification plant, located near American Electric Power’s coal-fired Rockport power plant on the Ohio River, would basically use Indiana coal. The designed annual usage in the Rockport SNG plant would be about 3.85 million tons of Illinois Basin coal, with the possibility of substituting a portion of this with petroleum coke.
SNG production would be about 47 million mmBtu (about 38 million mmBtu would be sold to the IFA). Sulfur in the feedstock would be processed into sulfuric acid, which IG will sell into the industrial market. Heat generated during the gasification process would be used to produce steam for steam turbines that could produce about 300 MW to meet on-site power needs, with a utility interconnection for minor power balancing.