NRG supports gas pipeline okay needed for Shawville coal-to-gas conversion

NRG REMA LLC, the operator of a 588-MW power plant targeted for a coal-to-gas conversion, on Jan. 12 filed a support letter with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission related to the gas pipeline that would supply the converted plant with natural gas.

First ECA Midstream LLC (FECAM) applied Dec. 18 with FERC for all authorizations necessary for it to own, operate as an interstate pipeline, and maintain an existing approximately 16 mile, 4–16 inch diameter natural gas pipeline located in Clearfield and Elk counties, Pennsylvania. FECAM is merely requesting a change in the jurisdictional status of the existing facilities as well as related authorizations that the commission routinely provides to natural gas pipelines performing interstate service.

The existing pipeline currently is utilized solely for the gathering of natural gas exempt from the commission’s jurisdiction under Natural Gas Act (NGA) Section 1(b). The pipeline is used to gather natural gas for delivery to the interstate pipeline systems of Dominion Transmission Inc. (DTI) and National Fuel Gas Supply Corp. (NFG). Under the proposed arrangement, the pipeline not only will continue to have the ability to deliver natural gas to DTI and NFG, but also will receive natural gas from DTI.

The pipeline will transport certain of the natural gas received from DTI to the NRG REMA power plant in Shawville, Pennsylvania. The transportation of natural gas from DTI to the plant combined with delivery by displacement of gathered natural gas to interstate pipelines will result in transportation in interstate commerce, which requires a FERC certificate.

NRG REMA, a unit of NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG), leases and operates a nominal 588-MW coal-fired power plant in Shawville. NRG REMA announced in early 2012 that it would deactivate the plant in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS). In June 2014, NRG REMA announced that to comply with MATS, NRG REMA would add natural gas fuel capability to the plant.

NRG REMA said in the Jan. 12 support letter that the generating units at Shawville have been offline since June 2015. NRG REMA plans to place those generating units back in service, with the ability to burn natural gas, by early summer 2016. If the units are back in service according to NRG REMA’s plan, they will be able to provide service to the PJM Interconnection market during the peak summer electric season.

NRG REMA asked for FERC approval by March 31, allowing time to connect the gas pipeline to the plant and to do operational testing of the plant on gas before full operation in early summer. Without use of the FECAM pipeline, which involves construction of a three-mile lateral pipeline, NRG REMA would have to build a 12-mile pipeline to another supply source.

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.