Two Elk coal project in Wyoming undergoes changes, challenges

The Wyoming Industrial Siting Division is out for comment on an application by Two Elk Generation Partners LP to change its construction schedule and allow phased construction for an air-cooled, waste-coal-fired power plant in Campbell County.

This project has been in the works for years by developer North American Power Group. It would be located near Arch Coal’s (NYSE: ACI) Black Thunder strip mine in the Powder River Basin and burn low-quality waste coal produced by several mines in the area.

The proposed phased construction would have two phases, the division said in a July 3 public notice. Phase 1, involving a gas-fired combustion turbine, would have a construction start date that has been pushed back from January 2014 to April 1, 2015. Phase 1 would be complete by March 2016, with the coal-fired Phase 2 to be 90% complete by March 2018. However, Phase 2 is contingent on a pending federal rule about coal-fired CO2 emissions, Two Elk Generation Partners said in its June 25 amendment application.

The division will consider the amendment at its meeting scheduled for Aug. 5-7 in Saratoga, Wyo.

In the meantime, the Powder River Basin Resource Council and the Sierra Club on April 24 petitioned the state Environmental Quality Council to hold a show cause hearing and then issue an order that holds that Two Elk Generation Partners’ (TGEP) Air Quality Permit is invalid as a matter of law. “TEGP has discontinued construction activities of its proposed power plant for more than twenty-four months at its Campbell County location and therefore, as explained below, TEGP’s permit is no longer valid as a matter oflaw under Wyoming and federal laws and regulations,” the environmental groups said.

TGEP filed a June 3 motion to dismiss this case, saying the council has no jurisdiction in this matter. A council hearing officer agreed and on July 10 issued an order dismissing the April 24 complaint. Authority over the permit is at the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.

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.