NRG starts engineering work on W.A. Parish carbon capture

NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) has begun preliminary engineering and procurement work for a carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) demonstration project at its W.A. Parish coal-fired plant in Texas, the company noted in its May 6 Form 10-Q report.

A gas-fired, 75-MW peaking unit at W.A. Parish achieved commercial operations in June 2013. The unit is to be retrofitted as a cogeneration facility to provide steam and power to operate the CCS project, which is being partially funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The captured carbon would be piped to a place where it can be used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR).

Construction of the CCS-EOR project is intended to allow NRG, through wholly owned subsidiary Petra Nova LLC, to utilize the captured CO2 in enhanced oil recovery operations in oil fields on the Texas Gulf Coast. In May 2013, DOE published its Record of Decision in the Federal Register on its decision to provide cost-shared funding for the project in the amount of $167m, $7m of which had already been received by NRG as of March 31. 

“Furthering NRG’s efforts to commercialize post-combustion carbon capture at its WA Parish plant, the Company began preliminary engineering and procurement activities in March 2014,” said the Form 10-Q. “Construction of the CCS-EOR project remains subject to receipt of appropriate financing and negotiation of material contracts.”

The CO2 capture facility would use an advanced amine-based CO2 absorption technology to capture at least 90% of the CO2 from a 250-MW equivalent (MWe) portion of the flue gas from Unit 8 at the 2,505-MW W.A. Parish plant.

In another area involving coal-fired generation, NRG said in the May 6 Form 10-Q report that it intends to continue operations at the Avon Lake (Ohio) and New Castle (Pennsylvania) facilities, which are currently in operation and had been scheduled for deactivation in April 2015. NRG intends to add natural gas capabilities at these facilities, which is expected to be completed by the summer of 2016. The company also expects to convert Big Cajun II Unit 2 in Louisiana to natural gas capabilities by spring of 2015 as part of its environmental capital expenditures program.

In December 2013, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a deal under which NRG and National Grid expect to negotiate a contract to convert the coal-fired Dunkirk facility to enable Units 2, 3 and 4 to operate on natural gas. Unit 1 will remain mothballed. The company and National Grid agreed to the material terms of a ten-year contract, and those terms were filed with the New York State Public Service Commission on Feb. 13. The agreement will commence when the first of three Dunkirk units supplies power into the grid while operating on natural gas, which is expected in late 2015.

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.