Alabama Power permits gas use at coal-fired Gaston Unit 5

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) is out for comment until April 3 on an air permit that would authorize the addition of gas as a fuel at Unit 5 of the Gaston Electric Steam Generating Plant of Alabama Power.

The project would be expected to significantly reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and particulate matter (PM, PM10, PM2.5) from the facility. Alabama Power has indicated that there may be an increase in emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOC), and greenhouse gases (GHG) above the PSD significance thresholds as a result of the proposed project. The department has concluded that these increases in CO, VOC and GHG would not be expected to cause or contribute to a violation of the applicable National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

In August 2014, the department received this application from Alabama Power for the Gaston plant, which is located in Wilsonville, Shelby County, Alabama. In this application, APC proposed to retrofit Unit 5 by adding gas-fired burners. Unit 5 is currently equipped to burn coal and fuel oil. The unit would continue to operate with coal as its primary fuel. Natural gas would be utilized as the primary ignitor fuel, but would also be co-fired with coal at times, the department noted. Fuel oil would be maintained as a backup ignitor fuel.

Alabama Power stated that this project would also include associated gas lateral, unit piping, valving, and appropriate monitoring equipment to ensure safe natural gas combustion and operation. After this retrofit of Unit 5, the nominal heat input would be 8,688 MMBtu/hr, while the full load gross capacity would remain at 895 MW. Unit 5 would continue to use its existing stack configuration. 

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.