Southern nears greenhouse gas permit for 920-MW Texas peaking project

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality posted to its website on Aug. 19 a notice dated Aug. 15 that said it is close to a decision on a Southern Power application for a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) Air Quality Permit, which would authorize construction of the Jackson County Generating Facility.

Southern Power is a non-utility unit of Southern Co. (NYSE:SO).

The power plant property is south of Lundquist Road at the intersection of Texas County Road 710 and Lundquist Road, Ganado, Jackson County, Texas. This application was submitted to the TCEQ in December 2014. The commission’s executive director has determined that the emissions of air contaminants from the proposed facility which are subject to PSD review will not violate any state or federal air quality regulations and will not have any significant adverse impact on soils, vegetation, or visibility. The executive director has completed the technical review of the application and prepared a draft permit which, if approved, would establish the conditions under which the facility must operate.

Jackson County Generating Facility (JCGF) will be located approximately 50 kilometers northeast of Victoria and 145 kilometers southwest of Houston. JCGF will consist of four natural gas-fired simple-cycle CT generator units capable of producing a nominal 920 MW. The power generating equipment and ancillary equipment that will be sources of emissions for the project include:

  • Four simple-cycle, natural gas-fired CTs;
  • One emergency firewater pump; and
  • Five fuel gas heaters.

The site will be equipped with one 160-horsepower (hp) firewater pump for emergency use. The engine running this equipment will fire low-sulfur diesel fuel. Hours of operation for the emergency firewater pump are limited to 100 hr/yr for maintenance checks and readiness testing.

An approximately 5.5 million-British-thermal-units-per-hour (MMBtu/hr) natural gas-fired, fuel gas heater will be utilized for bulk natural gas heating the proposed project and may operate up to 8,760 hr/yr. This bulk natural gas heater will heat the natural gas as it enters the facility to remove condensed liquids in the natural gas prior to use at the facility.

An approximately 2.6 MMBtu/hr natural gas-fired heater will be installed in combination with each CT. These heaters will heat the natural gas prior to its use as fuel for the CT to prevent condensation in the fuel system of the CT from damaging the combustor sections of the turbine. These heaters must be in operation any time the associated CT is operating and will be limited to 2,500 hours of operation each.

The TCEQ said in a separate Aug. 19 notice that on Aug. 3, the applicant filed a request for direct referral to the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) related to two other air permits for this same project. Therefore, the chief clerk has referred that application directly to SOAH for a hearing on whether the application complies with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

SOAH will conduct a formal contested case hearing on Oct. 3 at the William P. Clements Building in Austin. The contested case hearing will be a legal proceeding similar to a civil trial in state district court.

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.