Pennsylvania to take input on startup restrictions for new Homer City scrubbers

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said July 21 that it will hold a July 30 public hearing on new pollution control measures for the coal-fired Homer City Power Station in Indiana County.

The hearing will be held at the Homer-Center High School Auditorium in Homer City. The public comment period closes Aug. 10.

Homer City Generation (HCG) is preparing to begin operation of its Novel Integrated Desulfurization (NID) dry scrubber systems, which are designed to control SO2 and other air contaminants from units 1 and 2 at the Homer City Power Station. Unit 3 has had an operational scrubber for several years. DEP will hear testimony on its proposed intent to issue a plan approval to HCG to establish temporary alternative SO2 emission limits during the startup, initial operation and/or intermittent periods of operation of the NID system.

Said the power plant website about this facility, which is controlled by an affiliate of General Electric (NYSE: GE): “Homer City Generating Station is an efficient and reliable 1,884-MW coal-fired merchant power plant in Center Township in Indiana County, PA, 45 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Generating Units 1 & 2 were built in 1969, and anti-pollution scrubbers are being installed on them. Generating Unit 3 was built in 1977 and already is outfitted with a scrubber. The plant sells its baseload power into wholesale power generation markets in PJM Interconnection and NYISO.

“After a competitive review, GE Energy Financial Services selected an affiliate of NRG Energy Services to take over operations and maintenance of the Homer City Generating Station.”

Said a financial report for the first quarter of this year posted to the Homer City website: “GE Capital entered into an EPC contract on April 2, 2012 with Kiewit Corporation to construct Novel Integrated Desulfurization System (NIDs), the selected type of FGD to be installed in Units 1 and 2. NIDs are designed to reduce various emissions, including SO2 and particulate matter. Construction of the NIDs is continuing to progress as planned. The total estimated cost of constructing and installing the NIDs for Units 1 and 2 of the Homer City plant is expected to be between $700 million to $750 million, which will be funded by GE Capital and contributed as equity to Homer City. Management revised the construction schedule with a new completion date to occur on or around December 31, 2015.”

Said the financial report about federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) compliance: “Homer City was granted a one year extension by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and will be required to meet MATs by April 16, 2016. Homer City does not expect that these standards will require Homer City to make additional capital expenditures beyond the NIDs already being installed in Units 1 and 2.”

Said the report about a NOx Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) rule proposed by the Pennsylvania DEP: “A final NOx RACT Rule is not anticipated to be promulgated until October 2015 at the earliest. Homer City is currently evaluating what changes, if any, to the Selective Catalytic Reduction systems on Units 1 and 2 will need to be made to meet these limits.”

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.