NRG Energy has given up a $1.2 billion plan to add a 744-MW pulverized coal unit to its Limestone Electric Generating Station near Jewett, Texas, saying low natural gas prices had rendered the project uneconomic.

NRG spokesman David Knox told POWERnews that the project wasn’t canceled. “NRG simply chose not to pursue the project,” before the 18-month validity of air permits obtained from the Texas Commission on Environment Quality (TCEQ) in December 2009 for the Limestone 3 unit expired this month. The reason was “purely gas economics,” he said.

In 2008, NRG agreed in a settlement with the Environmental Defense Fund and the Texas Clean Air Coalition that it would offset 50% of Limestone 3’s carbon emissions and reduce other pollutants below state-required levels.

NRG’s existing Limestone plant consists of two lignite coal–fueled steam units totaling 1,700 MW baseload capacity. The facility went into operation between 1985 and 1986. The new unit, Limestone 3, was slated to be built adjacent to Units 1 and 2, and would have primarily used low-sulfur coal. It was to be equipped with low-NOx burners/overfire air and selective catalytic reduction for NOx control, flue gas desulfurization (scrubber) for sulfur dioxide control, and a fabric filter baghouse for particulate control.

Sources: POWERnews, NRG Energy

—Sonal Patel, Senior Writer (@POWERmagazine)