by Pam Zubeck
There are two new sulfur dioxide mandates that impact our power plants in 2017. The first is the National Ambient Air Quality Standards and the second is the Regional Haze Rule.She further explains, in response to questions, that Unit 5 at Drake does not have the Neumann technology attached and will be decommissioned at year's end.
In accordance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, the state of Colorado must demonstrate that areas around power plants meet sulfur dioxide air quality standards. At each the Drake and Clear Spring Ranch campus (where Nixon Power Plant is located), the state has chosen to demonstrate that air quality standards are met through an emission limit (1,995 tons per year at each site) that becomes effective Jan. 1, 2017.
In order to meet this limit at the Drake Power Plant, we committed to ending operations of Unit 5 by the end of 2016 and partial operation of the scrubbers during 2017. As for Nixon, our projected SO2 emissions at Clear Springs Ranch demonstrate compliance with these new limits. Once scrubbers at Nixon are commissioned in the fall of 2017, projected SO2 emissions will be even further below this limit.
Starting Jan. 1, 2018, the more stringent Regional Haze emissions limits take precedence. One of our responsibilities under the Regional Haze Rule is to meet a sulfur dioxide emission limit (0.13 lb/mmbtu for Drake’s Units 6 and 7 and 0.11 lb/mmbtu on Nixon Unit 1, each on a 30-day rolling average). Scrubbers are required on both of our coal-fired power plants to comply with these mandates.
As of Sept. 26, we took full control of the Neumann scrubbers on Units 6 and 7 at the Drake Power Plant. As you can see from the chart, the scrubbers are successfully demonstrating that we can reduce SO2 emissions to levels that will allow us to comply with new permit limits, including the Regional Haze requirements, in 2017. Our workforce has been trained to provide operational and mechanical support for the scrubbers and will be working over the next year to optimize the system.
As I already mentioned, we are also installing scrubbers at the Nixon Power Plant. Construction will wrap up in the spring and we expect to commence system testing in the fall of 2017 in order to meet the year-end deadline.