Greenidge runs into air permit issue for New York coal-to-gas conversion

Greenidge Generation LLC, Greenidge Pipeline LLC and Greenidge Pipeline Properties Corp. sent a brief Dec. 15 letter to an administrative law judge at the New York State Public Service Commission that there’s been a delay in the air permitting for a coal-to-gas conversion project at Greenidge Unit 4.

“This is to inform you that by letter dated December 7, 2015, the Regional Administrator for the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 2 (‘Region 2’) objected to certain aspects of the Draft Title V Operating Permit for the Greenidge Station (‘Greenidge’) previously issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (‘DEC’). Specifically, Region 2 took the position that DEC erred in concluding that resuming the operation of Greenidge Unit 4 is not subject to the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration (‘PSD’) program. As a result of this action by Region 2, the proposed Title V Operating Permit for Greenidge Unit 4 will not become effective as previously scheduled. Greenidge is currently working with DEC to determine the best way to address this determination.”

Greenidge Pipeline LLC and Greenidge Pipeline Properties Corp. had filed on Sept. 24 with the New York commission for approvals, including a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, for a natural gas pipeline project to serve the Greenidge power plant.

Greenidge Generation on Sept. 10 applied at the New York PSC for an Original Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) so it can re-start Greenidge Unit 4. Greenidge requested expedited action in order to permit the facility to be fully operational upon the issuance of the air permits, or as soon as possible thereafter. Greenidge said in the application that it anticipated that New York regulators will issue the air permits on or about Nov. 1, 2015.

Greenidge Unit 4 is a 106.3-MW steam turbine facility. Greenidge has applied to the New York ISO for a new interconnection agreement for the facility.

On Aug. 12, the New York DEC published notice that various draft permits were available for 30 days for review and comment. Under DEC’s draft air permits, the facility would be allowed to operate on biomass and natural gas as well as fuel oil (primarily for flame stabilization and startup) but will no longer be authorized to operate on coal. Greenidge said it will subsequently and voluntarily upgrade the facility to enable it to operate entirely on natural gas. These upgrades will not alter the nameplate capacity of Unit 4.

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.