EPA issues final greenhouse permit for Tenaska Brownsville gas plant

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Jan. 26 that it has approved the final greenhouse gas (GHG) prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) permit for Tenaska Brownsville Partners to develop a natural gas power plant in Cameron County, Texas.

Tenaska will construct natural gas-fired turbines connected to electric generators. Exhaust from the turbines will be recovered to power a steam-turbine generator. The estimated capital cost of the project is about $500m. Constructing the facility will create 600-700 temporary jobs, with 23 full-time jobs when the facility is operational.

In a news release, EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry said Tenaska had also worked to safeguard the nearby Palo Alto Battlefield Park.

Tenaska applied for its licenses early in 2013.

Tenaska has proposed to permit two project designs: a 1‐on‐1 or a 2‐on‐1 combined cycle combustion turbine (CCCT) configuration. The Brownsville Generating Station will be designed to have an estimated nominal power generation summer condition output capacity of approximately 400 megawatts (MW) for the 1‐on‐1 configuration or 800 MW for the 2‐on‐1 configuration.

Tenaska proposes to install Mitsubishi 501GAC combustion turbine generator(s) which will be equipped with a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) with supplemental 250 million British thermal units per hour (MMBtu/hr, higher heating value [HHV]) natural gas‐fired “duct” burners.

On Oct. 31, 2014, EPA announced both its approval of the state air plan and the withdrawal of the federal air plan making Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) the primary GHG permitting authority in Texas. The approval became effective upon publication in the Federal Register on Nov. 10. This action eliminates the need for businesses to seek air permits from two separate regulatory agencies in Texas and moves the permitting program to TCEQ.

EPA and TCEQ will continue to work closely with pending permit applicants during the transition period and ensure no unnecessary project delays result from this action. At the request of businesses in Texas, EPA will complete work on two permit applications, with the remaining applications transferred to TCEQ.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.