“DNREC negotiating permanent shutdown of additional coal unit at Indian River Power Plant”

As our readers know, Green Delaware advocates a phase-out of coal burning in Delaware as the only reasonable solution to the multiple problems caused by the “coal cycle.”   Indian River Unit 3 is a 177 megawatt (nameplate capacity) coal burning steam-electric unit started up in 1970.

The announcement below seems a solid step in this direction and a good move by the Markell administration.   Shutting Unit 3 down is far preferable to building cooling towers for it, because–among many reasons–: (1) cooling towers reduce but don’t eliminate harmful cooling impacts, (2) a large investment in the unit would create incentives to keep it running for many years, and (3) shutdown is the only practical way to deal with greenhouse gas emissions from coal burning.

However, note that this is described as a “potential agreement.”  The devil is in the details and we don’t know what undesirable features might be in the deal.  So at this point we can only say that it sounds very promising.  (Not all the numbers in the release make sense to us either.  We’ll check them out.)

(Aside:  We’ve gotten some comments about the blackout of Green Delaware’s views in the News Journal and some–not all–other Delaware media.  It’s beyond this, and it’s beyond The News Journal.  Note, for example, the blackout of any Delawareans views on the evil doings as the Salem nuclear complex.  For more see “ Nuclear Plantation Journalism.”  The Executive Editor of The News Journal is David Ledford:  302.324.2860, dledford@delawareonline.com .)

Alan Muller
Green Delaware

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Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara announced today that DNREC is evaluating a potential agreement with NRG that would shut down a third coal-fired electrical generating unit (Unit 3) from the Indian River Power Plant, leaving only the facility’s newest, largest and lowest-emission unit to remain in operation. DNREC will host a community meeting on February 11 beginning at 7 p.m. at the Millsboro Fire Company Banquet Hall to provide an overview of the proposal and receive public feedback.

Indian River currently operates four coal-fired units. Under a consent decree reached with the Department in 2007, NRG agreed to shut down its two oldest units in 2010 and 2011, and to install air pollution controls on Units 3 and 4 by the end of 2011 to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and mercury.

Under the proposal being evaluated, Unit 3 would operate through 2013 at which time it will be shut down permanently, rather than undergo installation of pollution controls and continue to operate for decades.  The facility would continue plans to shut down Units 1 and 2 by 2011 and place controls on Unit 4, its largest, by the end of 2011. The project will cost approximately $360 million and create up to 350 construction jobs over two years. No permanent jobs are expected to be lost as a result of the shutdown due to attrition, retraining, and redeployment.                                               Photo by Joanna Wilson.

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