RC Cape May works on gas pipeline for BL England repowering

The New Jersey Pinelands Commission is taking comment until Dec. 13, with a Dec. 9 hearing held, on a proposed memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) related to a planned repowering of the B.L. England power plant.

The proposed MOA would authorize the construction of about 15 miles of a 22-mile, 24-inch, high-pressure natural gas transmission line. This pipeline would provide natural gas to allow the repowering of  B.L. England (BLE) and would also address the vulnerability of the southernmost portion of South Jersey Gas service territory to a single-feed disruption.

The proposed gas pipeline would traverse through portions of both the state-designated Pinelands Area and the Pinelands National Reserve. Through this MOA, BPU would require South Jersey Gas to fund acquisition of lands adjacent to the pipeline, and expansion of the commission’s education and public outreach programs.

The process following the Dec. 9 public hearing includes the preparation of a report on the hearing and a formal recommendation regarding the proposed MOA. This Executive Director’s report will be presented to the 15-member Pinelands Commission board, which will decide whether to approve the proposed MOA.

B.L. England is currently a 447-MW coal- and oil-fired power plant located on the Great Egg Harbor Bay in Upper Township, Cape May County, N.J. It consists of two coal-fired boilers (Boilers 1 and 2) and one residual oil-fired boiler (Boiler 3).

An air quality permit for the BL England Repowering Project was approved on April 30, 2013, by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. This project consists of the construction of a new 275-MW natural gas-fired combined cycle combustion turbine (CCCT) system, the conversion of the residual oil boiler into a natural gas boiler, and the retirement of the two existing coal-fired boilers.

An October 2013 market power analysis from plant operator RC Cape May Holdings said the 570-MW capacity of the repowered BL England plant is due currently for commercial operation in June 2017.

This repowering project has been going through various approvals in recent months. PJM Interconnection got a Nov. 20 approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of an executed interconnection service agreement that covers the revamped plant.

Also, PJM got a March 27 request for the deactivation as of May 1, 2014, of the 129-MW Unit 1 at BL England, with PJM eventually finding no grid reliability issues with that shutdown. That followed a Jan. 7 request for the deactivation as of Oct. 1, 2015, of the BL England Diesels, Units IC1-IC4, with a total of 8 MW of capacity, with again no grid reliability issues found.

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.