NRG plans coal-to-gas conversions; starts construction on Texas peaker

NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) reported on Feb. 27 that its NRG Business segment is working on a series of major projects, including a recent start of construction on a 360-MW, gas-fired peaking project in Texas.

NRG Business’s multi-year capital investment program includes both generation additions and fuel conversions of approximately 4,400 MW of generation capacity. This provides the company with the ability to bid generation assets in regional forward capacity markets while also meeting key environmental compliance goals.

Assets undergoing planned fuel conversions or additions include:

  • Avon Lake 7 and 9 (in Ohio, to be completed in summer 2016);
  • Big Cajun II Unit 2 (Louisiana, to be completed spring 2015);
  • Dunkirk Units 2-4 (New York, spring 2016 completion);
  • Joliet Units 6-8 (Illinois, summer 2016 completion);
  • New Castle Units 3-5 (Pennsylvania, summer 2016);
  • Portland Units 1-2 (Pennsylvania, summer 2016); and
  • Shawville 1-4 (Pennsylvania, summer 2016).

All of these are coal-to-gas conversions, except Portland, which is coal-to-oil.

Additionally, and as part of the acquisition of Midwest Generation, NRG has elected to install dry sorbent injection (DSI) and electrostatic precipitator (ESP) upgrades at both its 1,538 MW Powerton and 689 MW Waukegan coal facilities in Illinois. When combined with the coal-to-gas conversion at Joliet and the planned retirement of the 761 MW Will County 3 coal facility, these projects will provide significant emissions improvement in Illinois.

The company noted that it completed in 2014 air quality projects at the Conemaugh, Waukegan 7, Powerton 6 and Big Cajun coal facilities on-time and on-budget.

NRG was selected by Southern California Edison (SCE) to repower the company’s Mandalay facility in Oxnard by spring 2020 with 262 MW of new simple cycle generation and to install 178 MW of “Preferred Resources,” including both demand response and energy efficiency products, at sites across southern California. When coupled with the previously announced Carlsbad repowering (633 MW), due to be completed by fall 2017, total long-term contracts awarded to NRG, pending California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approval, amount to over 1 GW in California. NRG plans to add the Mandalay and Carlsbad facilities to the Right of First Offer Agreement for dropdown to affiliate NRG Yield.

NRG said it has begun construction of a 360 MW, natural gas-fired peaking plant at the PH Robinson site near Houston. The project, due to be completed by spring 2017, will be partially financed through $43 million of Ike tax-exempt bonds.

NRG Renew has entered into an agreement with Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit healthcare providers, to help Kaiser Permanente achieve its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020. Utilizing as much as 70 MW of on-site solar, NRG Renew expects to implement a single-brand, multi-site distributed solar program at as many as 170 locations, which will include medical offices, hospitals, clinics, data centers and other Kaiser Permanente facilities.

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.