Public interest group targets PSEG’s coal-fired Bridgeport Harbor unit

Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE: PEG) is going to get new public pressure to shut the coal-fired Unit 3 at its Bridgeport Harbor plant, which is one of the few coal units left in New England.

The independent, nonprofit Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) plans on Jan. 23 to release a new report that says Unit 3 is on dangerous ground. “The IEEFA report will show that national trends of lower natural gas prices, lower wholesale market prices, and declining coal generation are among the factors rapidly eroding the financial position of Bridgeport Harbor Unit 3, which is the last coal-fired power plant operating in Connecticut, and one of the last in New England,” said the institute in a Jan. 20 press advisory.

“Even though utilities typically do not publicly acknowledge problems with the economics of coal-fired power plants until the point in time when such facilities are shut down, IEEFA hopes to ensure that community stakeholders in the Bridgeport area have the information they need now to start planning for job losses, reduced revenues, and other severe impacts,” said the advisory. “The IEEFA report is based on a thorough analysis of financial statements and other data from Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), ISO New England, and other industry sources.”

Bridgeport Harbor consists primarily of three units: a 170-MW residual oil-fired cyclone Unit 2; a 410-MW dual-fired Unit 3 (coal and oil); and a 22-MW combustion turbine Unit 4. The coal-fired Unit 3 in recent years has met an SO2-reduction need with expensive, very low-sulfur coal produced by P.T. Adaro in Indonesia. U.S. Energy Information Administration data shows the plant getting coal in 2013 from Adaro under a contract due to expire at the end of 2013.

The PSEG website said about emissions from this plant: “There, we are reducing Hazardous Air Pollutants emissions at both the front-end and the back-end of combustion process. The station burns ultra-low sulfur coal with low NOx burners. In 2008, we installed a baghouse with activated carbon injection at the backend of the combustion process. This strategy has significantly reduced emissions of particulates, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury.”

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.