The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on March 18 issued a notice that kicks off the environmental review process on a gas pipeline lateral needed to support a gas-fired power project at the Tennessee Valley Authority‘s Paradise coal plant site in western Kentucky.
On March 4, Texas Gas Transmission LLC requested a certificate of public convenience and necessity authorizing the Western Kentucky Lateral Project in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. Texas Gas proposes to construct, own, operate, and maintain a new natural gas lateral consisting of approximately 22.5 mile of 24-inch diameter pipe, a meter and regulator station, and appurtenant auxiliary facilities that will provide a design capacity of up to 230,000 dekatherms per day of firm natural gas transportation capacity.
The new lateral will extend from its Midland 3 Compressor Station to a proposed interconnection with TVA’s new combined cycle natural gas-fired electric generation unit at the Paradise plant. The pipeline project is supported by the binding Precedent Agreement with TVA that provided for the full design capacity of firm transportation service at negotiated rates for a primary term of 20 years. The total estimated cost of constructing the project is $81 million.
Within 90 days of this notice the commission staff will either: complete its environmental assessment (EA): or issue a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. If a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review is issued, it will indicate, among other milestones, the anticipated date for the commission staff’s issuance of the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) or EA for this proposal. The filing of the EA in the commission’s public record for this proceeding or the issuance of a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review will serve to notify federal and state agencies of the timing for the completion of all necessary reviews, and the subsequent need to complete all federal authorizations within 90 days of the date of issuance of the commission staff’s FEIS or EA.
Notable is that the Kentucky Coal Association (KCA) on March 4 filed a notice of appeal at the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals of a lower court decision affirming TVA’s decision to later this decade shut two of the three coal units at the Paradise power plant in western Kentucky and replace them with this new gas-fired capacity. The association said in the notice that TVA violated the National Energy Policy Act by doing a simple environmental assessment (EA), not a full environmental impact statement, prior to the shutdown decision. KCA also said the federal utility failed to abide by the least-cost planning process in making this decision.
Upon the completion of the new 1,085-MW natural gas-fired facility at the Paradise site, coal-fired Units 1 and 2 with a summer net capability of 1,230 MW will be retired. The coal-fired Unit 3 would be the only coal unit at the site to remain in operation.