MidAmerican outlines progress with air projects, coal shutdowns

MidAmerican Energy filed on April1 at the Iowa Utilities Board an update, covering the period from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2018, and including future plans through December 31, 2025, on the status of ongoing environmental capital investments to MidAmerican’s operated coal-fueled power plants.

MidAmerican’s approved 2014 update included ten projects that were planned to be completed and in service during the previous plan. These specific projects are listed below, along with the status of each project:

  • Neal Unit 4 Scrubber and Baghouse started construction in 2011 and began operation in December 2013. The project is scheduled for completion in 2016 contingent on completion of warranty items and delivery of the spare induced draft fan rotor.
  • Neal Unit 4 Turbine Efficiency Upgrade Project was completed and started operation in December 2013.
  • Neal Unit 3 Scrubber and Baghouse started construction in 2011, and began operation in May 2014. The project is scheduled for completion in 2016 contingent on completion of warranty items and delivery of the spare induced draft fan rotor.
  • Neal Unit 3 Turbine Efficiency Upgrade Project started operation in May 2014. The project is scheduled for completion in 2016 contingent on the delivery of the spare impeller for the turbine main shaft oil pump.
  • Neal Unit 3 SNCR Project was started in January 2013 and began operation in May 2014. The project is scheduled for completion in 2016 contingent on the completion of warranty items.
  • Neal Unit 4 SNCR Project was started in January 2013 and began operation in December 2013. The project is scheduled for completion in 2016 contingent on the completion of warranty items.
  • Neal Unit 3 ACI Project was started in November 2013 and began operation during the 1st quarter of 2015. The project is scheduled for completion in 2016 contingent on the purchase and delivery of required spare parts.
  • Neal Unit 4 ACI Project was started in November 2013 and began operation during the 1st quarter of 2015. The project is scheduled for completion in 2016 contingent on the purchase and delivery of required spare parts.
  • Louisa ACI Project was started in November 2013 and began operation during the 1st quarter of 2015. The project is scheduled for completion in 2016 contingent on making the final payment for required spare parts.
  • Walter Scott Jr. Energy Center (WSEC) Unit 3 ACI Project was started in November 2013 and began operation during the 1st quarter of 2015. The project is scheduled for completion in 2016 contingent on making the final payment for required spare parts.

The coal units, with net size and MidAmerican’s ownership shares, are:

  • Neal Unit 1, 135 MW, 100.00%
  • Neal Unit 2, 295 MW, 100.00%
  • Neal Unit 3, 515 MW, 72.00%
  • Neal Unit 4, 644 MW, 40.57%
  • Louisa, 745 MW, 88.00%
  • Riverside Unit 5, 130 MW, 100.00%
  • WSEC Unit 3, 690 MW, 79.10%
  • WSEC Unit 4, 800 MW, 59.66%

Companion testimony came from Jennifer A. McIvor. employed by MidAmerican Energy as Vice President, Environmental Programs, Compliance and Permitting.

McIvor noted: “As a result of previous efforts to reduce nitrogen oxides emissions through the installation of low-nitrogen oxide burners and over-fire air at all coal-fueled units, as well as the installation selective non-catalytic reduction systems at Neal Units 3 and 4, the installation of scrubbers to control sulfur dioxide emissions at Louisa Generating Station, Walter Scott Energy Center Units 3 and 4, and Neal Units 3 and 4, MidAmerican is reasonably well positioned to continue to comply with the [Cross-State Air Pollution Rule]. MidAmerican has carried sufficient allowances to comply with its CSAPR requirements and anticipates it will continue to do so.”

Asked about MidAmerican’s compliance status under the federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, McIvor added: ‘MidAmerican is retiring certain coal-fueled generating units as the least-cost alternative to comply with the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (“MATS”). Walter Scott Energy Center Units 1 and 2 were retired in 2015 and George Neal Energy Center Units 1 and 2 are to be retired by April 15, 2016. A fifth unit, Riverside Generating Station, was limited to natural gas combustion in March 2015. WSEC Unit 4 is fully compliant with the MATS requirements. With the installation of ACI at WSEC Unit 3, Louisa, Neal Unit 3 and Neal Unit 4, each of these units is also fully compliant with the MATS requirements.

“Under the MATS, affected facilities equipped with dry scrubbers had two options to demonstrate compliance with the acid gases portion of the rule: (1) utilize a surrogate limit for sulfur dioxide emissions of 0.20 pounds per million British thermal unit (“lb/MMBtu”) or (2) meet the hydrogen chloride limit of 0.002 lb/MMBtu as demonstrated through quarterly emissions tests or a hydrogen chloride continuous emissions monitoring system. MidAmerican evaluated the economic impact of each option and elected to demonstrate compliance with the hydrogen chloride limit with quarterly stack tests. As a result, MidAmerican adjusted is operations and maintenance budget forecasts to reflect a sulfur dioxide set point for each scrubbed unit that ensures compliance with permit limits and quarterly emissions testing.”

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.