citizens of the Cedar Valley address the proposal for a coal burning power plant
City Council meeting
May 7, 2007
Elk Run Energy (St. Louis, Missouri )/LS Power/Dynergy
Mark Milburn, Elk Run Energy Project Development Manager
Now I also want to speak of the environmental benefits and impacts of the plant. : As I mentioned it’s a modern coal-fire facility, with very efficient process compared to older coal fire plants. You’ll note that many of the coal-fire plants built in Iowa, most of them were built between the mid-1940s and the late 1960s. And then there were two or three large units built in the state in the early-80s. There haven’t been any built in the state since then. And the technology has increased substantially in terms of efficiency, in terms of emissions-control technology….So the plant that we’re proposing for you today is a project that has significantly different emissions-control technology than the plants that you’re familiar with that supply 85% of the power here in Iowa.
Our state-of-the art emissions control equipment will meet and exceed all federal and state standards, and the way we do that is to by implementing 100s of millions of dollars in emissions control technology. That includes selective catalyitic reduction system and …Low ennox burner ? with over-fire air to control nitrogen oxide emissions. It includes a fabric filter bag house for particulate emissions. It includes a flue-gas desulferization system for sulfur dioxide emissions, and an activated carbon injection for mercury emissions.
In addition, we’ve committed to exploring and designing our plant to incorporate the use of biomass fuel mixed in with our coal, and these biomass fuels could possibly be switch grass, corn stover, dried distillers grain from ethanol plants. We’ve pledged a $400,000 research grant to the University of Northern Iowa to explore and identify a cost-effective way to incorporate biomass fuels. And one of the reasons that we want to do that is to further reduce the CO2 emissions from our plant. We already have reduction of CO2 b/c of the efficiency of our plant compared to older plants, and with the incorporation of biomass fuels, we’ll have further net reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. So, the incorporation of biomass fuels also has a positive economic impact on the local community. Once we identify a source of fuel b/c of the transportation issues it would likely come from a fairly local source so that has a net positive on the economy as well.
I mention that we’ll meet all federal and state standards. There is extensive regulatory oversight and evaluations by agencies including the Iowa DNR in consultation with the EPA, before construction can begin. The plant has to comply by all federal laws, and the permitting process will ensure that the public will have access to all the relevant information and will have the ability to participate. Through the permitting process the agency places restrictions on emission rates, and specifies exactly what air-emissions control technology must be installed at the facility. And that’s the way that the EPA and the DNR ensure we have the best available control technology installed, and that we’re doing the best that we can to ensure the health and safety of humans and of the natural environment. And that’s the mission of the DNR and the EPS: to ensure that the human health and the environment are protected.
In addition to the air emissions, there’s other environmental aspects of the plant, such as the ability to reclaim existing quarries with our coal combustion bi-products. Normally for a plant like this we’d have to set aside a certain amount of acreage and design a land fill to put our waste product. (our “coal combusion bi-products”). In this instance, we have an opportunity here to reclaim a local quarry where we can safely take our biproduct and fill the quarry up and “reclaim” it and use it as agricultural land, use it as greenspace, or whatever the owner fo the facility chooses in the future. So this signifycantly reduces our land requirements in the area and is a benefit to locate in this area.
Another benefit of this area is the availability of municipal wastewater for cooling. Normally a facility like this would require a new source of fresh water for cooling. But here in this location, b/c of the size of this municipality, we’re able to use the municipal wastewater effluent from your treatment plant, that is currently discharged into the Cedar River. We can actually pipe that to our plant, “reclaim” the water, and use it for our cooling process to minimize the amount of fresh water that we need in our facility. So it’s a significant environmental advantage. It actually costs us a little more money to clean up the reclaimed…to reclaim the wastewater effluent than if we used fresh water, but there’s a net environmental benefit in doing that.