Plant Washington, a planned $2.1 billion, single-unit, 850-MW supercritical coal plant that a consortium of generators has been trying to build near Sandersville in east-central Georgia, was given an 18-month air permit extension by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) on Oct. 15.
The Plant Washington project has been in development since 2006. The company formed to develop the plant, Power4Georgians (P4G), was originally was made up of a group of Georgia electric membership corporations (EMCs). Several of them withdrew from equity participation by 2009, including the largest, Cobb EMC—which had been expected to fund a 40% share—leaving a core of four EMCs to keep the project moving. In 2012, P4G entered into an agreement with Denver-based Taylor Energy Fund to assume control of the project and continue development, and the remaining EMCs, which had planned to fund the project only through the initial development phase, also withdrew as equity partners, though they remain as potential customers for the electricity.
The project is fully permitted, and contracts have been executed with Black & Veatch as the owner’s engineer, Zachry Industrial for construction of the boiler, and IHI for boiler fabrication. The contract for the balance of the plant construction is still being arranged. The plant will burn a mix of Illinois and Powder River Basin coal.
As designed, Plant Washington will comply with all current EPA emissions regulations to control NOx, SOx, particulates, and mercury. There has been some controversy from project opponents regarding whether the project should be required to comply with pending EPA regulations on carbon emissions for new plants. However, the EPA in January exempted the plant from the proposed rules based on the contracts and permits already in place. If the rule stands as proposed, it will allow Plant Washington to be grandfathered into rules for existing plants, rather than being forced to comply with those for new ones.
—Thomas W. Overton, JD is a POWER associate editor.