The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is expected this morning to give the final word on an air permit for a new coal-fired power plant near Jewett in Limestone County, about 120 miles northwest of Houston.
The TCEQ approved the permit by a vote of 3-0 this morning.
“With permits in hand, we can finalize discussions with partners,” said NRG spokesman David Knox, “Construction would take 4 years.”
If approved, the Limestone 3 unit, being built by NRG Energy would just add to Texas’ already massive emissions output, say opponents including the Sierra Club:
“All over the country investors, elected officials, and community members are deciding against permitting and constructing coal-fired power plants, yet in Texas we have 12 coal plants proposed — more than any other state in the nation!”
“If the NRG Limestone Coal plant is given an air quality permit from TCEQ tomorrow — Wednesday, December 9th, it would be the first coal plant permitted since EPA ruled that TCEQ does not adhere to the Clean Air Act.”
The group says annual output from the plant would include:
• 7.4 million tons of CO2 per year
• 2,102 tons of SO2 per year
• 1,752 tons of NOx per year
• 1,226 tons of Particulate Matter per year
• 140 pounds of Mercury per year
The outlook for the project moving ahead look pretty good, protesters notwithstanding. At a hearing last month the TCEQ essentially told NRG “here are the changes you need to make for this to go through” and NRG says they’ve made them.
NRG notes that SOx, NOx and mercury emissions from the new unit will be offset by improvements planned on the two existing units. So 800 megawatts will be added to the grid but emissions will actually drop from the whole plant.