Monday, August 04, 2008

Groups Agree To Drop Opposition To Texas Utility Coal Expansion

Aug 4: NRG Texas LLC, a subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG) has reached agreements with the Texas Clean Air Cities Coalition (TCACC) and Environmental Defense Fund in which Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and TCACC have agreed to drop their opposition to the Limestone 3 permit application in response to a number of innovative commitments related to emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and mercury (Hg), and to other environmental issues including reductions in water usage. Both TCACC and EDF initially announced their intention to intervene in and oppose NRG’s permit application to add a third unit to Limestone Station. However, after several months of working together and discussing ways to meet Texas’ demand for electricity in a manner that would minimize adverse environmental impacts, these agreements were reached.

Linda Koop, Dallas City Council Member and Chair of the TCACC said, “This agreement presents an excellent opportunity for emission reductions, beyond that which the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) would have required. The greenhouse gas reductions -- 50% -- are particularly significant because the TCEQ does not consider carbon dioxide a pollutant and does not regulate or restrict carbon emissions.”

Jim Marston, EDF state climate director said, “We applaud NRG committing to offset a significant part of its CO2 emissions from the Limestone 3 plant. CO2 is the gas that scientists tell us is the principal cause of global warming. Offsets, such as the projects that NRG has committed to invest in, are a low-cost way to get the large reductions in greenhouse gases that are necessary to prevent catastrophic impacts of global warming, and NRG has established a precedent for other electricity companies to follow.” McElroy, Sullivan and Miller L.L.P., a widely respected Austin law firm specializing in energy and administrative matters, has donated time to represent EDF in this and other coal air permit cases.

The new unit is designed to be one of the cleanest pulverized coal-fueled electric generating units in North America and will use best available control technology to reduce air emissions and dry cooling to conserve our water resources. The proposed expansion project would add a third generating unit to the facility and bring approximately 744 megawatts (MW) of low-cost, stable electric generating capacity to the region -- enough to supply approximately 600,000 households. Currently, the Limestone Electric Generating Station is comprised of two lignite/coal-fueled steam units, which generate over 1,700 MW of baseload generating capacity. The facility, which went into operation between 1985 and 1986.

Access a lengthy joint release from NRG and the groups summarizing the agreement (click here). Access additional information from NRG on the Limestone 3 Expansion Project (click here). [*Energy]