(Austin, DC – April 19, 2010) Environmental Defense Fund agreed today not to oppose an air quality permit for the Tenaska Trailblazer Energy Center under development in Sweetwater, Texas.
Under the agreement, Tenaska has agreed that the plant will contain equipment designed to capture at least 85 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by the plant. The company will also contract for delivery and sequestration of the captured CO2 to third parties authorized by Texas and federal law to inject the gas into approved geologic formations. Tenaska also agrees the water obtained from sources other than that produced during operation of the plant will not exceed 2,000 acre-feet of water per year, enough to support the most water efficient cooling design for the plant.
"The era of building traditional coal plants without carbon capture and storage is over," said Jim Marston, EDF national energy program director. "This groundbreaking agreement addresses carbon as well as water, a scarce resource in that region. Tenaska is to be commended for ending business-as-usual coal-fired power production."
Tenaska, an energy company based in Omaha, Neb., is developing a site between Abilene and Sweetwater in West Texas for construction of Trailblazer, a 600-megawatt (net) coal-fueled, advanced technology power plant. Trailblazer would be among the first conventional, commercial coal-fueled power plant in the world to capture 85 to 90 percent of the CO2 that would otherwise be emitted and provide for its geologic storage. Tenaska plans to send the CO2 to nearby Permian Basin oil fields for use in enhanced oil recovery, a well-established petroleum industry process.
On April 6, Tenaska announced its decision to employ water-conserving dry cooling technology at the Trailblazer Energy Center. Dry cooling equipment uses air to cool water and steam rather than evaporating water. Because dry cooling substantially reduces evaporation, the consumption of water is reduced by more than 90 percent when compared to traditional "wet cooling" methods predominantly used by power plants today.
Tenaska Vice President of Environmental Affairs Dr. Greg Kunkel said the agreement with EDF is "another example of Tenaska doing what it says it's going to do.
" A few years ago, we determined it would be shortsighted to build new coal-fueled electric generating plants without answering the CO2 question. Our philosophy hasn't changed. If anything, our strategy in developing large-scale carbon capture has been reinforced since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has officially recognized CO2 as a pollutant."