Thursday, October 15, 2009

DNREC Orders Emissions Reductions at Indian River Power Plant

NRG’s Indian River power plant near Millsboro has been the perennial number one on Delaware's air pollution hit parade. That is due to change under the terms of a Secretary's Order announced yesterday. According to the Order, NRG has agreed to close the plant's two oldest and dirtiest units, and spend $500 million on new pollution controls on the two newer units. Unit 1 will be shut down by May 1, 2011 and Unit 2 by May 1, 2010.
DNREC's press release estimates the emissions reductions under the Order:
The combined impact of these changes will be an overall reduction in NOx and SO2 emissions at the facility of nearly 90 percent by the project’s completion, advancing both air quality and water quality goals for the state. These reductions in emissions are estimated to generate approximately $2 billion in avoided health care costs. Further, the shutdown of Units 1 and 2 will also reduce water intake at the facility by approximately 60 percent and make a measurable improvement in the water quality, improve aquatic habitat, and help rebuild fish populations.
We're talking about reductions of 14,000 tons of NOx and nearly 60,000 tons of SO2 annually, a figure that Jeff Montgomery of the News Journal describes as "the equivalent of 300 train-cars of raw sulfur a year."
And for those who bemoan the effects of environmental regulation on the economy, the work envisioned will create 500 construction jobs.
The Order does not address all of the environmental problems at the plant. It is limited to air emissions and does not mention the growing hazard of coal ash accumulating at the site. It does not address CO2 emissions. And as the New York Times reported this week, cleaning up air emissions at coal plants can lead to dirtier water. Still, this Order will likely set an enduring record for reducing air emissions in Delaware.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This entire deal was negotiated under the previous administration.

7:09 PM, October 15, 2009  

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