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NRG gets pass on emissions level

The public will have to evaluate a proposal for a coal gasification plant without knowing how much pollution it would pump into the air. The Public Service Commission will hold three public hearings next week seeking input on proposals to provide a new source of home-grown electricity to Delmarva Power to meet the state's long-term needs. However, many details from the three proposals have been blacked out, as the companies seek to keep details private.

Company need only provide public with estimated range of carbon dioxide release

The public will have to evaluate a proposal for a coal gasification plant without knowing how much pollution it would pump into the air.

The Public Service Commission will hold three public hearings next week seeking input on proposals to provide a new source of home-grown electricity to Delmarva Power to meet the state's long-term needs.

However, many details from the three proposals have been blacked out, as the companies seek to keep details private.

NRG is proposing a 600-megawatt coal gasification plant for its Indian River location. The technology turns coal into synthesis gas, allowing for some toxins to be removed.

On Tuesday, the Public Service Commission discussed NRG's redaction of carbon dioxide emissions, which drives global warming. The company also blacked out emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, carbon monoxide, mercury and other pollutants.

Critics say coal gasification is largely untested, with just two small plants operating in the United States. They also say it emits more pollutants than other technologies.

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Company need only provide public with estimated range of carbon dioxide release

The public will have to evaluate a proposal for a coal gasification plant without knowing how much pollution it would pump into the air.

The Public Service Commission will hold three public hearings next week seeking input on proposals to provide a new source of home-grown electricity to Delmarva Power to meet the state's long-term needs.

However, many details from the three proposals have been blacked out, as the companies seek to keep details private.

NRG is proposing a 600-megawatt coal gasification plant for its Indian River location. The technology turns coal into synthesis gas, allowing for some toxins to be removed.

On Tuesday, the Public Service Commission discussed NRG's redaction of carbon dioxide emissions, which drives global warming. The company also blacked out emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, carbon monoxide, mercury and other pollutants.

Critics say coal gasification is largely untested, with just two small plants operating in the United States. They also say it emits more pollutants than other technologies.

For those reasons, many people have been eager to see the details of NRG's plans, but NRG doesn't want to release them. Caroline Angoorly, the company's regional senior vice president, said if the company were to release its emissions estimates, competitors would be able to see sensitive financial information and performance standards.

Commission staffers, who had been arguing NRG should release the emissions information, changed their mind at the meeting Tuesday.

They agreed to a compromise with NRG that allows the company to submit a range of possible emissions, to be made public in time for the hearings. The commission did not decide whether NRG would have to release the exact estimated emissions later.

"We saw that as a good compromise to get that information to the public," said the commission's executive director, Bruce Burcat.

That didn't satisfy public interest advocates. Alan Muller, executive director of Green Delaware, said NRG wants to build a plant that "would put thousands of pounds a day of health-damaging pollutants into the air, and hundreds of tons of greenhouse gasses per day. And they don't want to give us the details. That's unacceptable."

Jeremy Firestone, an assistant professor at the University of Delaware, suggested Delaware residents look at the range provided by NRG and "assume the worst case."

Arnetta McRae, chairwoman of the commission, said she expects NRG to provide meaningful ranges.

"Good faith will play a very important role," she said.

The other two power plant proposals are for a 180-megawatt natural gas plant by Conectiv and a 200-turbine offshore wind farm by Bluewater Wind. Conectiv has released estimates of its emissions. The wind farm would not produce any.

The commission is expected to review all three companies' redactions and require the companies to justify them.

The public hearings are scheduled for 7 p.m. on each of three days: March 6, House Chambers, Legislative Hall, Dover; March 7, Delaware Technical & Community College, Owens Campus theater, Georgetown; and March 8, Carvel State Office Building auditorium, 820 French St., Wilmington.


Source: http://www.delawareonline.c...

FEB 28 2007
http://www.windaction.org/posts/7532-nrg-gets-pass-on-emissions-level
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