Another Fracked Gas Power Plant (485 MW) Coming to [Eastern] Pennsylvania

by Duane Nichols on March 22, 2018

Invenergy natural gas power plant in Jessup PA spewing yellow plumes of NOx

Proposed natural gas power plant in Birdsboro gets set of permits from PA-DEP

From an Article by Scott Blanchard, NPR StateImpact PA, March 2, 2018

The PA Department of Environmental Protection has OK’d several permits for a proposed natural gas power plant in Berks County.

The PA DEP said in a news release that it approved permits for construction of the main plant, as well as for a power line and water and natural gas pipelines to the plant. The permits include Safe Drinking Water Permits, required because the Reading Area Water Authority will need to make upgrades to a pumping station and build the water pipeline.

The Birdsboro Power plant is expected to produce up to 485 megawatts of electricity, according to information from EmberClear Corp., which is developing the project. Lehigh Valley Business reported that the project capitalizes “on the abundance of gas extracted from fracking Marcellus shale in the region.” The company says the work has created 300 construction jobs and 25 permanent jobs.

The project has drawn criticism, including from the environmental group Delaware Riverkeeper Network. The plant is being built in the Schuylkill River floodplain, and the filling-in of the floodplain will make flooding worse in Birdsboro and downstream, the group says.

The company says the plant is expected to be up and running in May 2019.

PHOTO IN ARTICLE: A natural gas power plant under construction in Bradford County, Pa.


Jessup frustrated with PA-DEP response to yellow smoke, health complaints at gas power plant

Article by Marie Cusick, NPR StateImpact PA, March 19, 2018

The Invenergy natural gas power plant in Jessup PA began spewing plumes of smoke in early March, prompting health complaints from nearby residents. The company says the emissions are temporary and part of a planned commissioning process.

Residents of Jessup say they are not satisfied with the response from the state Department of Environmental Protection, after a new natural gas power plant spewed yellow-colored smoke and prompted health complaints earlier this month.

The Invenergy plant being built in Lackawanna County started emitting noxious smoke on March 3. According to Jessup Borough Council President Jerry Crinella, DEP sent two people to investigate on March 6, but after they walked around, they said they couldn’t see or smell anything.

“I’m disappointed concerned citizens are not getting the information they’re asking for. We want to know what the readings were from the air monitors,” Crinella said. “The DEP is supposed to be there to protect the public, not the company.”

DEP spokeswoman Colleen Connolly declined to discuss the incident, and instead sent emailed statements. “Department believes plume is excess NOX [nitrogen oxides] as Invenergy is beginning to start up its turbines. No issues were reported to us,” Connolly wrote. “Department has asked Invenergy to provide a report on this. We are still waiting for the report.”

Connolly added there have been no complaints from residents since the original incident, and said she could not discuss specifics until the department receives the report from Invenergy.

The Chicago-based company emailed a statement earlier this month, spokesman Dan Ewan said the plant was undergoing a short-lived commissioning phase, which resulted in temporary noise and a visible vapor plume. He said there were no chemicals used during the process.

Jessup resident Rella Scassellati lives a half-mile from the plant and was among those who complained to the DEP about a burning in her nose, throat, sinuses, and chest. “I think every person who made a complaint deserved a response,” Scassellati said. “Nobody followed up with me.”

At 1,480 megawatts, the plant will be one of the largest gas-fired power plants in the United States. As StateImpact Pennsylvania and the Center for Public Integrity reported last year, the project has stirred controversy and upended local politics in the small town. It’s expected to be fully operational next year.

Borough council member Peter Larioni was voted into office last fall as a plant opponent. He said people are still reaching out to him asking about what was being emitted.

“The [DEP] guy said, ‘I didn’t smell anything.’” Larioni said. “How can he say that? Does he have a monitor up his nose?” According to Larioni, the borough is considering paying for its own air monitors near the plant.

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Earth Justice April 22, 2018 at 6:16 pm

Glendale Hits the Brakes on $500 Mil Gas-fired Power Plant

From an Article of Staff, Earth Justice, April 11, 2018

Glendale, CA — Following heated community cries for clean energy, Glendale City Council hit the brakes on a controversial $500 million gas-fired power plant and decided to study its clean energy options. The vote came after 3am last night in a hearing packed with hundreds of Glendale residents. The Grayson power plant, billed as a repower of an old plant, would have been a dated fossil fuel dinosaur in a clean energy state the day it opened its doors.

“Last night Glendale’s City Council made the right decision for local families and the air they breathe,” said Angela Johnson Meszaros, staff attorney at Earthjustice on the Right to Zero campaign. “No community in California wants to see a new gas plant built — those dirty fossil fuel days are behind us. Bring on the clean energy options. They are almost certainly bound to be more affordable than a $500 million dated gas plant.”

Glendale City Council voted 4–1 to pause the $500 million gas-fired plant proposal, opting instead to explore renewable projects. Glendale City Councilmembers Paula Devine, Vartan Gharpetian, and Vrej Agajanian and Mayor Zareh Sinanyan voted to pause the Grayson gas plant. Glendale City Councilmember Ara Najarian was the sole “no” vote.

Photos in original article:

1. Even first graders know this gas plant is a bad idea .
2. Earthjustice staff attorney Angela Johnson Meszaros testifies about the health impacts of the Grayson gas plant.
3. A Glendale family speaks out against the new gas-fired plant.
4.The existing Grayson power plant in Glendale on the Los Angeles River.

“We are looking forward to working with the City of Glendale as they study the community’s clean energy options. They made a courageous choice to plan for the future, and not the past, by hitting the brakes on this gas plant proposal,” said Evan Gillespie, director of the Sierra Club’s My Generation Campaign. “Like other California cities, they will likely find that they don’t need a polluting old gas plant in the midst of their community. After all, clean energy is driving gas out of California.”

The Glendale community has been deeply engaged in fighting this 262-megawatt proposed plant, which has included packed hearings with hundreds of concerned residents, heavy participation in the public comment period, letters of opposition to the project from elected leaders in California, and opposition from Glendale’s Armenian community. The gas plant, which would have been built near two elementary schools, would worsen Glendale’s air quality and lock the city into fossil fuel power for decades.

The vote last night sets in motion a study the City of Glendale will undertake over the next few months. That includes sending a 90-day Request for Information to clean energy and energy efficiency providers, analyzing their results, and collecting a set of energy solutions. Glendale City Council will then vote to approve an energy solution for the community.

A similar path was charted in Oxnard several weeks ago. The California Energy Commission signaled it would reject the Puente gas plant, sending planners back to the drawing board. Instead of Puente, local energy reliability needs will now be met with clean energy through storage and renewables, and upgrades to the transmission system.

The solution to Glendale’s energy problem

Community members and an energy expert have put forth solutions that would deliver clean energy to Glendale instead a dated gas plant.

The plan includes building modern energy storage, using demand-response efficiency measures for the local grid to handle energy usage peaks, and beefing up the city’s rooftop solar.

Gas-fired Power Plants in Free Fall in California

California has a glut of fossil fuel power plants that is driving up our electricity bills and churning pollution into air already rated the worst in the nation. This, coupled with the heightened resistance from local communities who refuse to become sacrifice zones for new fossil fuel projects, is changing the playbook on gas-fired plants in California.

Fossil fuel companies are hitting roadblocks where they once could overbuild new gas plants and pass along the costs to the local community and ratepayers with ease. Regulators in California are paying attention. On March 22, California energy regulators approved a non-fossil fuel alternative plan to the Puente gas plant on Oxnard’s beach.

“You’re not going to get anywhere if you are just adding more and more gas,” Robert B. Weisenmiller, chairman of the California Energy Commission, told the Wall Street Journal recently. “At some point soon we’ll be permitting the last gas plant in California.”

Over the last several months, proposed gas plants in California have gone down in defeat and existing gas-fired plants are shutting down decades before their expected retirement. NRG recently announced this month that it would shutter three gas-fired plants — Etiwanda in Rancho Cucamonga, Ormond Beach in Oxnard, and Ellwood in Goleta. In December the CA Public Utilities Commission pressed Pacific Gas & Electric to replace another three gas-fired plants with energy storage, shuttering the large Metcalf Energy Center near San Jose, and the Feather River Energy and Yuba City Energy Centers near Yuba City. On March 12, Calpine Corporation requested to suspend its application to build the Mission Rock gas plant in Ventura County, citing shifting policies in California.


>>> Testimony of energy expert on how Glendale can power itself without a new gas plant
>>> Op-ed from Assemblymember Laura Friedman on why the Grayson gas plant is a bad idea
>>> Los Angeles Times investigation into California’s recent power plant glut and editorial “The beginning of the end of big, climate-changing power plants in California”
>>> Union of Concerned Scientists: “Environmental Impacts of Natural Gas”



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