EPA issues air permit for 225-MW peaker project in Texas

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 6 office on Feb. 19 issued, to South Texas Electric Cooperative, the final federal greenhouse gas (GHG) permit in the state of Texas.

EPA has completed processing all submitted federal GHG permit applications, with the remaining applications transferred to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) after that state agency formulated its own GHG permitting program. The TCEQ had all along had permitting programs for non-GHG pollutants.

“We have worked with Texas and Texas businesses to issue over 60 GHG permits, creating well over 20,000 jobs and bringing over $24 billion in projects to the Texas economy,” said Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “I am proud of our team’s innovation and tireless effort to achieve this important milestone.”

The final GHG construction permit was issued to South Texas Electric Cooperative (STEC), allowing the company to build the new Red Gate power plant near Edinburg, Texas. This will be a peaking facility. Its 12 new natural gas-fired engines will provide a fast ramp-up for electricity generation at a capacity of approximately 225 MW. The project will bring a $200 million investment and is anticipated to add approximately 250 temporary and 29 permanent jobs to the McAllen area.

STEC plans to construct a new 225 MW (nominal) electric power plant, consisting of twelve Wartsila natural gas-fired engines (Model 18V50SG) and associated equipment including a firewater pump engine, circuit breakers and a diesel-fired emergency generator.

“STEC’s application explains that its system experienced strong growth in 2011 as a result of extreme weather conditions in both the summer and winter months, such that sales to member cooperatives increased 11.78% to 5,014,032 megawatt (MW) hours,” EPA noted in a permitting document for this project. “STEC asserts that system peak load was 1242 MW, up over 10% from the 1127 MW peak load realized in 2010 and that strong system growth is expected to continue with a projected 219 MW capacity additions required to serve the STEC member load by 2017.”

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.