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Limestone Generating Station

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Limestone Electric Generating Station is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by NRG Energy near Jewett, Texas.

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Proposed Limestone 3

Limestone 3 was a proposed 745 MW expansion of the NRG Energy’s existing 1614 MW Limestone Generating Station.[1]On December 6, 2012 NRG Energy announced it was canceling the plant. The Sierra Club reported that the company decided to abandon its plans "due to the changing economics of coal plants, the growth of wind energy in the state, and because of legal challenges and grassroots opposition from Sierra Club and allied groups across Texas."[2]

On Oct. 9, 2007, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released the draft air permit for the plant. Environmental groups are mobilizing against the plant; NRG is currently attempting to negotiate a deal with Environmental Defense, which – similar to the group’s deal with TXU – would see NRG limit emissions, in exchange for a commitment from Environmental Defense not to oppose the plant. On Nov. 29, 2007 – fearing a backlash similar to that against TXU – NRG committed to offset all emissions from the new plant.[3]

On Dec. 10, environmental activists and local critics attended a CEQ hearing in Groesbeck.[4]

According to an August 2008 update, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups continue to oppose the proposed Limestone III coal plant. The Sierra Club, represented by Environmental Integrity Project, is contesting NRG's draft air pollution permit. Permit hearings before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) are expected to take place over the next several months.[5]

In March 2009, the hearing on Limestone III's air permit concluded. The two administrative law judges involved in the case will issue their recommendation in approximately two months and the final decision from the TCEQ is expected in summer 2009.[6]

On December 9, 2009, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approved the air permit for the Limestone plant. The Sierra Club and other environmental groups said they would continue to challenge the Limestone 3 permit, despite an agreement between NRG, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Texas Clean Air Cities Coalition in which NRG promised to offset half of the plant's carbon dioxide emissions and reduce other pollutants below state requirements.[7]

Project Details for Limestone 3 expansion

Sponsor: NRG Energy
Location: Jewitt, Limestone County, TX
Capacity: 745 MW
Type: Supercritical
Status: Cancelled

Financing

Citizen Groups

Plant Data for Existing Plant

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 13,055,769 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 15,917 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 12,234 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 1,089 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Limestone Station

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[9] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[10]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Limestone Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 20 $140,000,000
Heart attacks 29 $3,200,000
Asthma attacks 360 $19,000
Hospital admissions 15 $340,000
Chronic bronchitis 13 $5,600,000
Asthma ER visits 22 $8,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

Limestone fifth in mercury emissions for 2009

The 2011 Environmental Defense Fund report, "Mercury Alert: Cleaning up Coal Plants for Healthier Lives" found that 25 plants alone are responsible for nearly a third of all mercury emissions in the power sector, while providing only eight percent of U.S. electricity. The findings are based on 2009 U.S. Department of Energy data. The plant with the fifth highest mercury emissions was Limestone Generating Station, releasing 1,077 lbs in 2009.[11]

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. Emissions from Recently Permitted and Proposed Coal Burning Power Plants, Stop the Coal Plant website, August 7, 2007.
  2. "NRG Cancels Proposed Limestone 3 Coal Project" Sierra Club, December 6, 2012.
  3. NRG Lifts Page from TXU on Coal Plant, Dallas Morning News, November 29, 2007.
  4. Public Meeting to Address Proposed Coal Plant, Dallas Business Journal, December 7, 2007.
  5. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed November 2008. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  6. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed May 2009. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  7. "NRG obtains air permit for new Texas coal unit," Reuters, December 9, 2009.
  8. "EIA 423 and Schedule 2 of EIA-923," EIA 923 Schedules 2, 2011.
  9. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  10. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  11. "Mercury Alert: Cleaning up Coal Plants for Healthier Lives" Environmental Defense Fund report, March 2011.

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