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Construction to Begin Soon On Tenaska's NatGas-Fired Power Plant in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) plans to have a second public hearing for Nebraska-based Tenaska's proposed 1,000 MW natural-gas fired power plant in Westmoreland County after the company said the facility would produce less emissions.

The project received its water discharge and air emissions permits from the agency in April 2015 (see Daily GPIMay 27, 2015). A public hearing was first held as part of that process, and the permits authorized the company's subsidiary, Tenaska Pennsylvania Partners LLC, to construct the facility. But Tenaska's Director of Development Monte Ten Kley told NGI that as the project has progressed over the past year, the company identified "opportunities to further minimize emissions."

The DEP is expected to issue an additional air plan approval to enforce the emissions reductions, which would be discussed at the DEP's public hearing on Jan. 26. Tenaska announced the project in 2009. After receiving the permits, construction was expected to begin last year and the plant's in-service date was set for 2018. But Ten Kley said construction is now on track to begin this quarter and commercial operation is now expected in 2019.

The Westmoreland Generating Station, as it's called, would be located on a 400-acre site in South Huntingdon Township, about 45 miles south of Pittsburgh. The DEP said the company received new emissions data from the manufacturer of the natural gas-fired steam turbine generators that indicated startup, shutdown and facility-wide emissions would be reduced from original estimates. Tenaska and DEP plan to make new presentations at the hearing, where the public can also speak.

Some residents living near the site expressed concerns about the safety of the facility early last year, particularly plans to discharge into the nearby Youghiogheny River (see Daily GPIJan. 13, 2015). The Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council also appealed the DEP's permits with the state's Environmental Hearing Board, contending the agency did not properly consider alternative power sources. The appeal was withdrawn in October, though, after the organization said it settled its concerns with the DEP and Tenaska.

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