EPA issues air permit to 160-MW project of Formosa Plastics

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Aug. 1 approved a final prevention of significant deterioration permit for Formosa Plastics for new power generation at a facility in Point Comfort, Texas.

Formosa is proposing to add two new gas-fired combined-cycle gas turbines to the existing chemical complex’s utility plant in Point Comfort in Calhoun County. Each gas turbine would have a capacity to generate 80 MW of gross electrical power.

The existing utility plant consists of six General Electric (GE) 7EA gas-fired turbines. The two new ones are also GE 7EA gas-fired turbines, with duct burners, for a total of eight at the expanded plant, each exhausting to a dedicated heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) to produce steam and electricity for the multiple operating plants at the existing Formosa chemical complex.

The new facilities will consist of the following sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions:

  • Two natural gas-fired combined-cycle combustion turbines equipped with dry low-NOx combustors;
  • Two HRSG with duct burners;
  • Natural gas and Olefins Unit (OL) Tail Gas piping and metering fugitives;
  • Electrical equipment insulated with sulfur hexafluoride (SF6); and
  • Turbine startup natural gas purges.

EPA said Aug. 5 that this is the 50th greenhouse gas permit in Texas. In Texas alone, EPA has received 83 GHG permit applications from businesses since 2011. Texas is No. 1 in the country for receiving EPA-issued GHG permits for projects totaling well over $24bn and creating over 20,000 construction jobs in the state.

“Today is a major milestone in the work EPA has done with businesses and the state of Texas to ensure our economy continues to thrive while promoting cleaner, more efficient energy production and use,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “We share our success with TCEQ and the joint permitting program our agencies started last year to process business’ applications for permits.”

EPA issued three final GHG Prevention of Significant Deterioration construction permits for the Formosa Plastics facility in Point Comfort, Texas, near Victoria. The other two permits didn’t cover power development.

In June 2010, EPA finalized national GHG regulations, which specify that beginning on January 2, 2011, projects that increase GHG emissions substantially will require an air permit. EPA believes states are best equipped to run GHG air permitting programs. Texas is working to replace a federal implementation plan with its own state program, which will eliminate the need for businesses to seek air permits from EPA. EPA has finalized 50 GHG permits in Texas, proposed an additional four permits, and currently has 11 additional GHG permit applications under development in Texas.

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.