EPA Issues First Greenhouse Gas Permit in Texas
On November 10, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the first Texas Greenhouse Gas permit for the Lower Colorado River Authority Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant in Llano County, Texas. The Lower Colorado River Authority is modernizing and expanding its plant by replacing its 37-year-old unit with a new, more efficient and reliable natural gas powered unit.
The Lower Colorado River Authority is the first company in Texas to complete the Greenhouse Gas permit process and obtained a final permit in about eight months. Earlier this year, the company proposed to replace an old 440 megawatt electricity generating boiler with a new reliable 590 megawatt combined cycle gas-fired plant. The new plant relies on an advanced electric power generation system that reduces nitrogen oxide emissions and also includes advanced environmental monitoring of Greenhouse Gas emissions.
“We appreciated EPA’s work on our project,” said Lower Colorado River Authority General Manager Becky Motal. “We believe that replacing our aging Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant with this new combined-cycle natural gas plant benefits everyone. The region will benefit from the latest environmental controls and our customers will benefit from our ability to better manage costs with a plant that will use about 35 to 40 percent less fuel than traditional gas-fired plants.”
In June 2010, EPA finalized national Greenhouse Gas regulations, which specify that beginning on January 2, 2011, projects that increase Greenhouse Gas emissions substantially will require an air permit. EPA believes states are best equipped to oversee Greenhouse Gas air permitting programs. In the interim, EPA is providing Texas businesses access to the permits they need to meet the Greenhouse Gas requirements and continue to grow.
The EPA is currently reviewing ten additional Greenhouse Gas permit applications for Texas companies