The Board of Public Utilities unanimously approved going forward with an air quality control project at the Nearman plant costing $250 million at its Oct. 16 meeting.
The board considered several options before deciding to go ahead with the $250 million air quality control project at the Nearman plant. It was the least-risk option of those studied, according to BPU information.
Disadvantages to the conversion would include higher environmental costs and future environmental regulation effects, according to information presented at the meeting.
Advantages include that the plant is BPU owned and controlled; there is fuel flexibility and diversity; lower and stable fuel costs; on-site fuel storage; generation flexibility to manage future environmental issues; protects the economic development initiative; maintains the BPU staff; and there is cost recovery through market sales.
The BPU also explored other options, which it did not adopt on Oct. 16. These included converting Nearman to natural gas; replacing coal units with an additional Dogwood purchase; a new natural gas combined cycle to replace coal units; and replacing Nearman with power purchase.
The BPU and other utilities are having to meet stricter Environmental Protection Agency standards on air quality control.