AUSTIN, Texas – Proposed legislation now before the Texas House of Representatives would help make Texas the national leader in development of advanced clean energy technologies, Tenaska’s vice president of Environmental Affairs testified here Wednesday.
Dr. Gregory P. Kunkel testified in support of HB 2811, sponsored by State Rep. Rick Hardcastle, before the House Committee on Energy Resources. The bill would improve and build on HB 3732, Advanced Clean Energy Project legislation passed in the last session, which encourages power developers such as Tenaska to bring to Texas a variety of advanced-technology, cutting-edge clean energy projects.
Tenaska has purchased 2,400 acres of undeveloped land nine miles east of Sweetwater, in West Texas, on which to build the first commercial-scale, conventional coal-fueled power plant in the United States to capture 85 to 90 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) that otherwise would be emitted and provide for its geologic storage. The Tenaska Trailblazer Energy Center, a 600-megawatt (net) generating plant, would ship the CO2 to the Permian Basin for use in enhanced oil recovery.
“Let me stress that Trailblazer will be a commercial venture in every sense, not a pilot or field trial. Trailblazer is being designed to capture and provide for storage of CO2, using advanced capture technology that is available today,” Dr. Kunkel said.
Cutting-edge technology projects such as Trailblazer face an early adopter premium. Dr. Kunkel said installation of the advanced carbon capture technology would add as much as a billion dollars to the cost of the plant, making it a more than $3 billion facility.
Rep. Hardcastle’s legislation would provide incentives to help offset the high costs of pioneering vital new technologies.
“For Texas, this kind of support represents an investment in the future,” Dr. Kunkel said. “The state needs new baseload electricity generation and also needs to maintain a cleaner environment.”
The Trailblazer development would offer an added benefit. The advanced carbon capture technology potentially could be retrofitted on existing pulverized coal generating plants in Texas and elsewhere, an advantage that other clean coal technologies cannot provide.
Coal-fueled facilities currently supply the U.S. with more than half of its electricity generation capacity, and represent 20 percent of Texas’ generation capacity.
“This is why Trailblazer is a particularly strategic investment in a cleaner environment,” Dr. Kunkel said.
“Technologies to produce electricity virtually emission- and greenhouse gas-free are here today, and, as demonstrated by our proposal to build Trailblazer, Tenaska is willing to be at the forefront of development,” he said. “We and other potential developers just require clear and beneficial government policies that will help mitigate the risks inherent in taking that upfront position.”
Tenaska is one of the largest privately-owned energy companies. Forbes and Fortune magazines rank Tenaska 24th and 25th, respectively, among the largest privately-held U.S. companies. Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, it develops, constructs, owns and operates non-utility generation and cogeneration plants. The company also markets natural gas, biofuels and electric power, and provides risk management services. Tenaska is involved in asset acquisition, fuel supply, natural gas exploration, production and transportation systems, and electric transmission development. Tenaska has developed approximately 9,000 megawatts (MW) of electric generating capacity across the United States. Tenaska’s affiliates operate and manage eight power plants in six states totaling more than 6,700 MW of generating capacity owned in partnership with other companies. In 2008, Tenaska was listed in benchmarking studies by the Natural Resources Defense Council as having the best records in the United States for lowest fleet-wide average emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. For more information about Tenaska and the Trailblazer Energy Center, visit www.tenaska.com or www.tenaskatrailblazer.com.
More information about the Tenaska Trailblazer Energy Center and illustrations for press use may be obtained at www.tenaskatrailblazer.com.
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