Gulf Power not sure on air compliance for Lansing Smith coal plant

In-construction SO2 scrubbers for the Daniel plant are key elements of an updated, annual clean-air plan that Gulf Power filed with the Florida Public Service Commission on April 1.

As discussed in Gulf’s 2013 Compliance Program Update, Gulf has finalized its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) compliance strategy for Plant Crist and Plant Daniel. Gulf has determined that it is not economical to add the environmental controls at the old, little-used Plant Scholz coal facility necessary to comply with MATS and that coal-fired generation will cease at Scholz on April 1, 2015.

Gulf said it has not finalized its MATS compliance strategy for Plant Smith. At one point a couple of years ago, the utility planned at Plant Smith Units 1 and 2 an SO2 scrubber project and a baghouse project, but they have since been removed from the air program.

“The Plant Smith scrubber and baghouse projects were originally included in Gulf’s Compliance Program for future consideration; however, it has been determined that the projects are no longer viable compliance options,” the Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) subsidiary said. “Environmental compliance strategies for Plant Smith are being evaluated in response to finalization of the MATS rule and anticipation of future land and water regulations.”

Gulf Power owns and operates three fossil-fueled facilities in Northwest Florida (Plants Crist, Smith and Scholz). Gulf also owns a 50% undivided ownership interest in Units l and Unit 2 at Mississippi Power‘s Plant Daniel in Mississippi.

Plant Crist is a four-unit, coal-fired facility located just north of Pensacola. Three older natural gas/oil-fired units at the site have been retired. Units 4 and 5 each have a nameplate rating of 93.75 MW and Units 6 and 7 have nameplate ratings of 370 MW and 578 MW, respectively. The plant has primarily operated on low-sulfur coals since the 1990s to lower SO2 emissions. All four units are equipped with low-NOx burner systems. Plant Crist Units 4 and 5 have selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) systems, while Crist Units 6 and 7 are equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems for NOx control. Units 4-7 are covered by one SO2 scrubber installed in 2009.

Based on previous economic assessments of Crist Units 4 through 7 and the Crist Unit 6 SCR economic evaluation, the retrofit of Crist Units 4 through 7 with a single scrubber, SNCRs on Units 4 and 5, and SCRs on Units 6 and 7 are the best options for compliance with the current requirements of various air rules. As explained in Gulf’s 2013 Compliance Plan, the best option for MATS compliance at Plant Crist was to proceed with transmission projects in order to allow Plant Crist to commit and dispatch in the most economic manner, while avoiding the installation of additional environmental controls.

Daniel scrubbers to be completed in late 2015

Gulf Power’s ownership interest at Plant Daniel is associated with two coal-fired units that have a nameplate rating of 548.25 MW each. Both coal-fired units have operated on low-sulfur coals since the 1990s. These New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) units are relatively low NOx emitters, and as a result, these units are part of a NOx Averaging Plan allowing delayed installation of controls and associated costs required under the Acid Rain Program. Low NOx burners were installed on Daniel Units 1 and 2 during 2010 and 2008, respectively.

Flue gas desulfurization, or wet scrubbing, has been determined to be the only viable SO2 retrofit compliance option for Plant Daniel. The Plant Daniel scrubber projects are currently scheduled for completion in December 2015. The scrubber stack concrete work has been completed, stack liners are at a maximum height for one unit, and the scrubber vessels are about 50% complete.

New Plant Daniel Units 1 and 2 SCRs are now scheduled to be in service by 2022. This projected timeline for compliance with the anticipated ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) revisions is based on promulgation of a revised, lower ozone standard in 2015. This timeline is subject to change because it is influenced by several different parties and factors, including the EPA and state regulatory agencies, atmospheric modeling, and ambient air quality. The SCRs, along with the Unit 1 and 2 scrubbers, will provide a co-benefit of reducing mercury emissions and assisting in compliance with MATS.

The best option to meet the MATS limits at Plant Daniel includes installing the commission-approved scrubbers and bromine and activated carbon injection (ACI). Engineering, procurement, and construction of the Plant Daniel bromine and ACI systems began in January 2014 and is scheduled to last for approximately two years. Both injection systems will be placed in service with the scrubbers during the fourth quarter of 2015.

Plant Smith includes two coal-fired units, Unit 1 and Unit 2, along with an oil-fired combustion turbine (CT) and a natural gas-fired combined cycle unit. The facility is located just north of Panama City. Plant Smith Unit 1 has a nameplate rating of 149.6 MW, and Unit 2 has a nameplate rating of 190.4 MW. The plant has operated on low-sulfur coals since 2000 to lower SO2 emissions. Both units are also equipped with low-NOx combustion systems. Unit 1 has special low-NOx burner tips, and Unit 2 has low-NOx burners and a separated overfired air system. Any further air emissions controls are subject to ongoing review. The company had last year been approved by Florida regulators for sorbent injection testing at this plant.

Plant Scholz consists of two coal-fired units that each have a nameplate rating of 49 MW. It is located in Jackson County.