Birdsboro Power gets Pa. air permit for 450-MW, gas-fired project

Project also recently got a PJM auction waiver from FERC

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Birdsboro Power LLC on March 22 was granted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection a final air permit for the construction of a natural gas-fired combined cycle electric generation facility located in Birdsboro Borough, Berks County.

The department said in a notice in the April 9 Pennsylvania Bulletin that the facility is designed to generate up to 450 MW (nominal) using a combustion turbine generator and a heat recovery steam generator that will provide steam to drive a steam turbine generator. The heat recovery steam generator will be equipped with a natural gas-fired duct burner to supplement power output. The turbine is rated at 2,944 MMBtus/hr and the duct burner is rated at 500 MMBtus/hr.

A selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system and oxidation catalyst in series will control NOx, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds. The project will also include a diesel emergency generator, a diesel emergency fire pump and an evaporative cooling tower.

FERC grants the project a waiver

Incidentally, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on April 7 granted a March 18 request from Birdsboro Power for a one-time, limited waiver of the Competitive Entry Exemption deadline in Attachment DD of the PJM Interconnection Open Access Transmission Tariff.

Birdsboro Power explained to FERC that its project has an active Generation Interconnection Request with PJM and received its Feasibility Study in September 2015. Birdsboro Power expected the System Impact Study to be released in March 2016. Birdsboro Power also anticipated completion of the Facilities Interconnection Study and Interconnection Services Agreement, and receipt of the Construction Service Agreement, in the first quarter of 2017. Birdsboro Power estimates the project will become operational in April 2019.

Birdsboro Power requested waiver of the Dec. 28, 2015 deadline to request a Competitive Entry Exemption for its project for the 2016 Base Residual Auction for the 2019/2020 delivery year. Birdsboro Power asserted that expedited action is warranted to provide the MMU and PJM’s Office of Interconnection sufficient time for consideration of its Competitive Entry Exemption request in advance of the 2016 BRA.  

Birdsboro Power argued that its error was made in good faith. Birdsboro Power explained that its failure to timely submit its request for a Competitive Entry Exemption was inadvertent and was due, in part, to uncertainty about the feasibility of the project being in service by the 2019/2020 delivery year. Birdsboro Power anticipates that its project will be in service by April 2019.

Birdsboro said in its FERC application that it will use either General Electric or Siemens H-Series gas turbine technology in a single shaft 1x1 configuration comprised of a gas turbine, heat recovery steam generator, and steam turbine. The project will utilize wet cooling and evaporative cooling facilities. The site is a 99-acre parcel formerly home to an army tank factory.

The project company has secured site control and derives many benefits from the location including proximity to the Texas Eastern Transmission natural gas pipeline, which provides an outlet for Marcellus and Utica natural gas production, availability of onsite water resources suitable for the project’s water cooling advantage, and proximity to a suitable electrical interconnection point.

A project contact is: Raj Suri, EmberClear Co., 2700 Post Oak Blvd, #1400, Houston, TX 77056, Telephone: (281) 657-3310, Mobile: (281) 989-0903, rsuri@emberclear.com.

Interconnection request working its way through PJM

Also, PJM has released a study, dated April 2016, covering Birdsboro Power's project, to be located approximately 3.2 miles east of an existing Metropolitan Edison 230-kV line on 1 Armorcast Road, Birdsboro, Berks County. The installed facilities will have a total capability of 450 MW with 450 MW of this output being recognized by PJM as capacity.

The proposed in-service date for this project is July 1, 2019. This study does not imply a Metropolitan Edison commitment to this in-service date.

For this project, under PJM queue #AA2-115 , the connection from Metropolitan Edison's transmission system to Birdsboro Power’s facilities will be provided by connecting the Point of Interconnection with a new three breaker 230-kV ring bus substation. 

The intent of this System Impact Study is to determine a plan, with approximate cost and construction time estimates, to connect the subject generation interconnection project to the PJM network at a location specified by the project developer. It is a mid-point in the PJM queue process.

Barry Cassell
About the Author

Barry Cassell

Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 26 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.

Barry can be reached at barryc@pennwell.com.

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