Healy Clean Coal Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) and Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA) have agreed to restart the AIDEA-owned Healy Clean Coal Plant. The plant has been idle since 1999 when GVEA, for whom the plant was originally built, entered a legal battle with AIDEA. The plant uses mid-1990s “clean coal” technology and therefore by present day standards uses mostly conventional coal burning technology. The low mercury allotment granted to Alaska under the Clean Air Mercury Rule may prove to be an obstacle to the restarting of the plant. On June 2006, Gov. Murkowski vetoed a state bill to spend $12.5 million in state funds on restarting the project.[1]

As of October 2008, Homer Electric Association (HEA) proposed to transfer the contractual rights for the Healy Clean Coal Plant to GVEA. This gave GVEA the right to restart, operate, and receive all power from the plant, pending resolution of the litigation between GVEA and AIDEA.[2]

On January 14, 2009, the Healy Clean Coal Plant entered initial stages of reopening. AIDEA, GVEA, and Homer Electric Association (HEA) approved terms for a three-way deal for the sale of the power plant, according to which GVEA will purchase the plant for $50 million, AIDEA will finance the sale, and HEA will purchase half of the energy produced by the plant starting in 2014. The sale is expected to be completed by August 1, 2009. Upon completion of the sale, litigation between GVEA and AIDEA will also end. GVEA projects the plant will start up in 2010-11.[3]

On January 21, at least 75 HEA members gathered outside of HEA's building on January 21st in opposition to the cooperative's deal with AIDEA.[4]

In May 2009, the Homer Electric Association voted to end its involvement with plans to restart the Healy plant. HEA announced that it is looking at wind energy, hydropower and natural gas options to satisfy its energy needs. [5] In July 2009, Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority announced it would assist GVEA in restarting the plant.[6]

On August 24, 2009, GVEA and AIDEA agreed to sell the Healy plant to Tri-Valley Electric Cooperative (a GVEA subsidiary) for $50 million. The new agreement also reflects the departure of HEA from the deal.[7]

On December 4, 2009, environmental groups including the Sierra Club submitted comments on the plant's draft Title V operating permit. The coalition argued that under the Clean Air Act, the Healy plant is required to apply for a new prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) permit before it can move forward with reactivation. The groups also stated that in the operating permit, the state Department of Environmental Conservation did not set strict enough limits on emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, and did not detail sufficient monitoring systems for emissions of particulate matter.[8]

On January 18, 2010 the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation issued a final best available retrofit technology (BART) determination for the Healy Unit 1 power plant.[9]

Project Details

Sponsor: Homer Electric Association
Location: Healy
Capacity: 50 MW
Projected in service: 2014
Status: In litigation

Articles and resources

References

  1. "Murkowski Signs Largest-Ever Capital Budget", Juneau Empire, July 2, 2006.
  2. "GVEA: Healy Clean Coal Plant (HCCP)" GVEA website, accessed October 2008.
  3. "Healy Clean Coal Plant", GVEA website, accessed May 2009.
  4. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed February 4, 2009.
  5. "Homer Electric backs out of Healy coal plant deal", Alaska Journal of Commerce , May 22, 2009.
  6. "Homer Electric out on Healy coal plant restart", KTUU, July 21, 2009.
  7. "State, Fairbanks utility back on track with Healy clean coal project", Alaska Journal of Commerce , August 28, 2009.
  8. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed December 2009.
  9. {http://www.sierraclub.org/environmentallaw/coal/plantlist.asp "Stopping the Coal Rush"], Sierra Club, accessed March 2010.

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