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Pennsylvania DEP Approves Air Permit For 1,500 MW Gas-Fired Lackawanna Plant

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has approved an air quality permit for a proposed natural-gas fired power plant that, if built, would be one of the largest in the state.

Meanwhile, the Jessup Borough Council voted 6-1 last Monday to approve a conditional use permit for Lackawanna Energy Center LLC, an affiliate of Chicago-based Invenergy LLC, to build and operate the proposed 1,500 MW power plant (see Daily GPINov. 3, 2014). The plant would be built in the borough, which is in Lackawanna County.

The DEP said the plant would have three identical natural gas-fired combustion turbines and heat recovery steam generator (CT/HRSG) systems with duct burners. All three CT/HRSG systems would be General Electric Model 7HA.02, and would share a single steam turbine.

"The department conducted a thorough and complete review of the application and determined it met all of the air quality regulations," Mike Bedrin, director of the DEP's northeast regional office in Wilkes-Barre, said Wednesday. "This plant will also have emissions testing, recordkeeping and continuous emission monitoring requirements to assist DEP in monitoring emissions from the facility to help ensure compliance."

The DEP said it was still reviewing Lackawanna Energy Center's application for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, which would allow the company to discharge treated wastewater into Grassy Island Creek. A public hearing on the NPDES permit is scheduled for Jan. 4, 2016.

According to the Scranton Times Tribune, the Jessup Borough Council permanently attached 15 conditions to its conditional use permit, a move that allows the locality to revoke the permit at any time should the plant fall out of compliance. The 15 conditions included a requirement that the plant be in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local regulations. They also included a road repair agreement with the borough, and agreements on construction hours, project lighting and an emergency response plan with local emergency personnel.

The plant would have an interconnect with PPL Electric Utilities Corp.'s Lackawanna Substation in the PJM Interconnection system, which coordinates electricity in 13 states and serves about 60 million people.

Natural gas use for power generation has grown much faster in Ohio and Pennsylvania than it has across the United States as a whole since the U.S. power generation industry deregulated in the mid-1990s. In 1997, Ohio and Pennsylvania represented just 0.6% of all natural gas delivered to U.S. electric power consumers, but that total had risen to 6.4% in 2013.

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