AUSTIN, Texas – The proposed Tenaska Trailblazer Energy Center near Sweetwater is likely to be the first project in Texas, and globally, to successfully demonstrate how clean energy can be produced from economical coal, a Tenaska, Inc. executive told members of two Texas House of Representatives committees today.
Tenaska has made encouraging progress in developing the Trailblazer plant, Dr. Greg Kunkel, vice president, Environmental Affairs, said in invited testimony before the House Committees on State Affairs and Energy Resources.
The committees heard testimony on an interim charge to determine whether existing state regulatory programs and incentives are adequate to meet the state’s future energy needs and to examine the status and adequacy of Texas electricity generating resources.
“Trailblazer will be among the first commercial scale applications of post-combustion carbon dioxide (CO2) capture technology,” Dr. Kunkel said in prepared testimony.
The 600-megawatt (net) plant will be fueled by Western coal and designed to capture 85 to 90 percent of the CO2 that otherwise would be released to the atmosphere. The CO2 will be transported via pipeline to Permian Basin oil fields for use in enhanced oil recovery and geologic storage.
“This is the only technology that can directly address the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and around the world,” Dr. Kunkel testified. “This technology also may be applied to the existing conventional coal-fueled plants that now generate about half this nation’s electricity.”
Dr. Kunkel said progress in the plant’s development includes finalizing a transmission interconnection study, the hiring of Fluor Corporation as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor, and the sale of a 35 percent equity interest in the plant to Arch Coal, which will supply the fuel.
Tenaska also has chosen a dry cooling technology that will reduce the plant’s water consumption by 90 percent. The dry cooling decision and Tenaska’s willingness to back its pledge to capture at least 85 percent of the CO2 with a legally binding contract has won a vote of confidence from the Environmental Defense Fund. EDF has announced it will not oppose the plant’s air quality permits and has withdrawn from the contested case before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
Tenaska applied for the air quality permits in February 2008 and received draft permits a year later. An administrative hearing on the permits is scheduled for June 2, 2010.
Dr. Kunkel also noted that Trailblazer will help meet the need for new generating capacity in Texas, which faces a shortage of capacity over the next several years and is overly dependent on natural gas for fuel.
“The addition of Trailblazer, as a baseload coal-fired facility, to the supply mix in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) will address both the growing need for power supply and the imbalance of fuel sources in the state,” he said.
Tenaska is an energy company, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, that 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 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. Tenaska Capital Management, an affiliate, provides management services for standalone private equity investments, with more than $3 billion in assets, including nine power plants (with approximately 5,000 MW of capacity), gas storage facilities, and transmission infrastructure construction and maintenance operations. In 2008, Tenaska was listed in benchmarking studies by the Natural Resources Defense Council as having the best records in the United States for fleet-wide average emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. For more information about Tenaska, visit www.tenaska.com