Columbus, Neb. – Over the past year, the Nebraska Public Power District has been analyzing its generation resource mix while meeting its responsibility for providing low-cost power in a reliable and environmentally responsible manner. One way to be a good steward is to make environmental improvements to its fossil-fueled facilities, which are among the lowest cost resources in NPPD’s generation mix.
This month, NPPD’s Board of Directors approved two projects that will help control the environmental emissions at the utility’s Sheldon Station power plant near Hallam, Neb. The District will be installing over-fire air ducts on the plant’s Unit 1 furnace, which will reduce the unit’s nitrogen oxide emissions by over 60 percent. NPPD will also be replacing more than 9,000 filters in the station’s baghouse system, which collects particulates that might otherwise be emitted.
“The over-fire air ducts are a very cost-effective way to reduce NOx and maintain a generation source that continues to have great value, underscored this past summer when our electrical loads were extremely high,” said NPPD President and CEO Pat Pope.” While not a required control measure, the voluntary initiative of adding these over-fire air ducts and the resulting emissions reductions will be beneficial in addressing the requirements of the upcoming Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and will help in addressing future environmental regulations that may occur.”
“These are sound and economical investments in a facility we currently use to follow load swings and the variable output from our wind generation resources,” said Pope. Together, the projects will cost less than $2 million.
Forty percent of NPPD’s current generation mix is non-carbon emitting, produced by various hydro-powered facilities throughout the state, NPPD’s nuclear power plant near Brownville, Neb., and the numerous wind generation facilities from which it purchases power or owns and operates.
Overfire air ducts were also installed on Sheldon Station’s Unit 2, which have reduced the NOx emissions on that unit by more than 60 percent. Both units have baghouses, and the station uses low sulfur coal from Wyoming for energy production. NPPD also completely upgraded Sheldon’s water discharge system with a state of the art water treatment system.