Gainesville Regional Utilities would spend more than $100 million to reduce pollution out of its coal-fired power plant, satisfying federal standards to reduce emissions years before they are need to be implemented.
The project, which would convert utility’s Deerhaven II power facility with new pollution-control equipment, received unanimous approval from the Gainesville City Council on Thursday evening. However, although the repair would reduce mercury, nitrogen oxides, and sulphur dioxide emissions by up to 90%, the expenditure will increase energy prices for GRU consumers.
The utility’s associate general manager of energy supply, Chip Allen, predicts that customers would experience a 3 to 4% rise in their prices every year 2007 through 2010.
In the case of a $100 million expenditure, “unfortunately, there is a cost attached with it,” he said.
However, whereas federal laws demand that progressive reductions in emissions be achieved by 2015-2018, GRU will reach those limitations five to eight years ahead of schedule. In the event that the utility constructs a planned coal-fired power plant, the Gainesville region will still witness decreases in the overall quantity of some pollutants compared to current levels, thanks to the retrofit. Also Read How Recycling Can Contribute To Climate Change Mitigation.
As a result, the refit project must be given to a contractor who has received final permission from the commission, which is anticipated to occur in September. In order to finish the project by 2009, construction will commence next year.
A number of contaminants that degrade air quality and endanger human health will be reduced as a result of the project. Mercury levels will be reduced by 75-90 percent, since the neurotoxin has been shown to hinder brain development. It will be possible to reduce nitrogen oxides, which contribute to acid rain and ozone, by 87 percent. There will be a 90 percent reduction in sulphur dioxide, which contributes to acid rain & causes respiratory ailments.
Local air-pollution expert David Harlos complimented the reductions but pointed out that the initiative did nothing to curb carbon dioxide emissions, that contribute to global warming.
According To Him, “It Completely Overlooks Co2.”
According to Commissioner Warren Nielsen, he is similarly concerned about climate change, but believes that the project achieved the best it could given the constraints of existing technology in terms of other emissions reductions.
In His Words, “All We’re Doing Is Getting The Most Of What We’ve Got.”
GRU’s strategy decreases emissions quicker and by a bigger amount than needed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which issued a directive in March calling on utilities to drastically reduce some pollutants. Taking advantage of the new emission credits to utilities that exceed rules will enable the utility to benefit from lower rates.
Those credits, according to Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan, might be sold to offset anticipated increases in power rates.
Bonds will be issued to fund the construction of the facility. However, due to a statewide drive for new power plants, the estimated cost of materials has risen from $90 million to $110 million over time.
Environmental contaminants are removed by the use of a variety of methods. Nitrogen oxides would be broken down and removed with the use of ammonia.. When a combination of lime and water is sprayed over emissions, it will cause a reaction that will remove sulphur dioxide and mercury. There would be less particles if a cloth filter were used.
New smokestacks will not be visible to residents, and the plant’s exterior will not be changed, according to Allen.
According to him, “it isn’t like the skyline would be drastically altered.”