Power Engineering

Russell City Energy Center: Standard for GHG Emissions?

By Brian Wheeler, Associate Editor

Situated on a 19-acre site in the Industrial Corridor of Hayward, Calif., is the planned location of the 600 MW Russell City Energy Center. Through the Russell City Energy Co. LLC partnership, Calpine Corp. and an affiliate of GE Energy Financial Services (a unit of GE) own 65 percent and 35 percent of the project, respectively. The planned combined-cycle natural gas-fired facility is unique because it is the first plant in the United States with a federal air permit limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“There aren’t any regulatory requirements to have GHG limits at this point,” said Brian Bateman, director of engineering for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. “These were actually limits accepted on a voluntary basis.”

The federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program requires facilities to use Best Available Control Technology (BACT) to limit emissions of all regulated pollutants. To meet the federal standard for greenhouse gas emissions, the facility has been designed with a thermal efficiency rating of 56.4 percent, which translates to a heat rate of 6,852 Btu/kWh. Calpine expects the Russell City Energy Center to keep the nominal heat rate under 7,000 Btu/kWh. When doing so, the plant can achieve emissions of approximately 800 pounds of carbon-dioxide equivalents (CO2e) per megawatthour.

“Efficiency and GHG emissions go hand-in-hand,” said Joe Ronan, senior vice president of government and regulatory affairs for Calpine. “Forty percent more efficiency means we are burning 40 percent less fuel and emitting 40 percent less carbon.”

While the Russell City Energy Center has voluntarily committed to limiting its GHG emissions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is moving ahead with plans to make GHG emissions regulated pollutants under the PSD program as of Jan. 2, 2011. At that point, companies wishing to construct or modify large sources, such as power plants, will be required to address GHG emissions in the PSD permitting process. EPA points to Calpine as a generator taking a proactive approach to addressing its upcoming requirements. If other companies seek to voluntarily address GHGs, EPA will work with that company, too.

“Air pollution agencies around the country will be involved in working on this throughout the year to figure out appropriate GHG limits for these new permits,” said Bateman. “And Russell City will be reviewed in terms of potential permits down the line.”

Not every plant may have to reach the same limits as Russell City, but Bateman thinks the plant will be used to demonstrate these limits are achievable.

“This plant will be very energy efficient,” he said.

Construction at the Russell City Energy Center has yet to begin, but Ronan said some of the major equipment has been purchased or is on order. The proposed project would consist of two Siemens F-class combustion turbine generators, two multi-pressure supplementary-fired heat recovery steam generators, a single three-pressure, reheat condensing steam turbine-generator and a hybrid wet/dry plume-abated mechanical draft cooling tower.

The plant would be adjacent to the City of Hayward wastewater treatment facility and would use 100 percent reclaimed water from the treatment facility for cooling. In doing that, the plant can prevent up to four million gallons of wastewater per day from being discharged into San Francisco Bay. Ronan said many cities and counties in California are under EPA scrutiny for water discharge. Using wastewater at the Russell City plant not only helps the Bay’s environmental quality but also benefits the City of Hayward.

“Forty to 50 years ago once-through cooling made sense because the large utility-owned power plants were located near the Pacific Ocean,” he said. “But today you would not be able to obtain a permit.”

The Russell City Energy Center was issued its final air permit on March 22. While a number of opponents appealed the permit, EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board recently held oral arguments. A decision from the appeals board was still pending at press time.

“We are optimistic that the appeal will be denied and we can move forward to break ground,” said Ronan.

If the appeal is denied and the Russell City Energy Center’s permitting is completed, Calpine hopes to break ground this fall on the state-of-the-art facility. The facility will likely serve as an important reference point for future BACT determinations for similar facilities.

More Power Engineering Issue Articles
Power Engineerng Issue Archives
View Power Generation Articles on PennEnergy.com

Sponsored by FLSmidth

Related Articles

Cleaver-Brooks demonstrates the power of total integration at POWER-GEN International

Cleaver-Brooks is showcasing a variety of its full range boilers at booth #1213. Cleaver-Brooks boilers offer the best efficiency with the lowest emissions possible.

Hydro-Optic UV Technology for Boiler Feed Water Dechlorination

Coal-fired steam generation power applications typically use reverse osmosis (RO) technology to provide high purity feed water for the boiler and steam cycle.

Follow Power Engineering on Twitter
Latest News

Dominion Virginia Power shelves plans for offshore wind project

Dominion Virginia Power, a subsidiary of Dominion (NYSE: D), put plans to build an offshore w...

Coal ash recycling company successfully repurposes pond ash

The SEFA Group Inc. recently opened a stand-alone Staged Turbulent Air Reactor (STAR) facilit...

Hawaii energy park, Sandia National Laboratories to test energy storage

The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA) has secured a deal with New Mexico-...

E.ON, GE wind farm reaches operation in Texas

E.ON and GE's (NYSE: GE) Energy Financial Services celebrated the opening of the Grandview Wi...

Feds move to speed approval for Great Plains wind projects

Federal officials are moving to speed up their review of wind power projects across the Upper...

Sempra U.S. Gas & Power acquires Minnesota wind project

Sempra U.S. Gas & Power has acquired the 78-MW Black Oak Getty wind project — in Stearns ...

Mississippi Power to build largest utility-scale solar projects in the state

Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), is partnering with two solar ...

Another measure to block advance of NC renewables law falls

North Carolina electric companies must keep planning to generate more power through alternati...

Power Engineering Current Issue

03/01/2014
Volume 118, Issue 3
1403PE-cover
Products Showcase
Dynamic Fluoride Ion cleaning DFIC of industrial natural gas turbines Hi-Tech Furnace Systems

Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning of IGT Parts

The Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning (DFIC) Process from Hi-Tech Furnace Systems is able to clean deep, narrow cracks of oxides by cycling between negative, atmospheric, and positive pressure.

Archived Articles

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

Buyers Guide Product Listings

Boilers

Designs, manufactures, sells, leases and rents ...

Boilers

Designs, manufactures, sells, leases and rents ...

Boilers

Designs, manufactures, sells, leases and rents ...

Consulting Services

Design and analysis of power plant structures i...
Power Industry Wire News

Rockdale Resources Enters Into Letter of Intent to Acquire Working Interest in a Historical Oklahoma Oil Field

Rockdale Resources Enters Into Letter of Intent to Acquire Working Interest in a Histor...

Scorpio Tankers Inc. Announces Newbuilding Vessel Deliveries and Reminder for Upcoming Conference Call

Scorpio Tankers Inc. Announces Newbuilding Vessel Deliveries and Reminder for Upcoming ...

Falcon Crest Energy Searching for Opportunities Outside Oil and Gas Sector

Falcon Crest Energy Searching for Opportunities Outside Oil and Gas Sector

West Texas Resources, Inc. Announces Appointment of Paul Brogan to Board of Directors

West Texas Resources, Inc. Announces Appointment of Paul Brogan to Board of Directors

Younicos Commends U.S. Department of Energy Call for Energy Storage to Be Part of National Electricity Grid Infrastructure Improvements

Younicos Commends U.S. Department of Energy Call for Energy Storage to Be Part of Natio...

Power Engineering

Article Archives for Power Engineering Magazine

Continuing Education

Professional Development Hours

To access a course listing associated to a specific topic listed below, click on the topic of choice from the list below.

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>