Virginia’s Biggest NatGas-Fired Power Station Goes Online

Greensville County Power Station (click for larger version)

In March 2015, Dominion announced plans to build the State of Virginia’s largest natural gas powered electric generating plant, in Greensville County, VA (see Virginia’s Largest Electric Plant to be Powered by Marcellus Gas). The $1.3 billion state-of-the-art natural gas-fired electric generating station generates 1,588 megawatts of electricity. Construction began in June 2016 (see Dominion Begins Building Virginia’s Biggest NatGas Power Station). And finally on Saturday, Dec. 8, the plant went online. Dominion’s own 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (when completed) will provide cheap, abundant, clean-burning Marcellus/Utica Shale gas to power it. Until Atlantic Coast is up and running, where will the gas come from to power it? We couldn’t find confirmation on the source of gas that feeds it now–but we’re guessing it’s Marcellus gas, making this a hugely important new market for our gas.
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Penn State Guide to Marrying Marcellus Gas with Renewables

Penn State’s Dept. of Architectural Engineering recently released a guide for those interested in “conceiving, developing and financing ‘hybrid’ fossil fuel and renewable energy systems.” The guide, titled “CHP-Enabled Renewable Energy in Microgrids in Pennsylvania: A Guidance Document for Conceiving Feasible Systems” (full copy below) outlines systems to provide on-site, natural-gas-fueled electric and thermal (e.g. hot water or steam) energy generation (combined heat and power, or CHP) in combination with renewable energy resources such as solar photovoltaic arrays and battery storage systems. The target audience for such systems are owners of commercial and industrial buildings, multi-family buildings, hospitals, food processors and large users of steam or hot water; commercial, institutional and industrial parks and campuses; and municipalities and rural co-op organizations.
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Duke Energy Florida Power Plant Goes Online Using M-U Gas

Duke Energy Crystal River Gas-Fired Plant

Duke Energy issued a press release on Friday to announce that its massive 1,640 megawatt natural gas-fired electric generating plant in Crystal River, Florida (Tampa area) is now “fired up” and operating, churning out enough electricity to power 1.8 million homes in the Sunshine State. The new gas-fired plant replaces several 52-year-old coal-fired units. The super cool news is that some of the gas powering the plant comes from the Marcellus/Utica. Really?! How? First the gas goes south from our region by hitching a ride through the mighty Williams Transcontinental Gas Pipeline (Transco)–all the way to Alabama. Then, the Sabal Trail Pipeline, a 1.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) pipeline, runs more than 500 miles from an interconnect with Transco in west-central Alabama to the Orlando, FL-area.
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FERC Pulls the Plug on Rhode Island Gas-Fired Electric Plant

MDN previously told you about a natural gas-fired electric plant planned for the socialist paradise of Rhode Island, home to old money and people who oppose change of any kind (see New NatGas Powered Electric Plant Coming to…Rhode Island?!). The proposed plant would lower RI residents’ electric bills by a collective $280 million and replace aging coal and oil power plants–cleaning the air in the process. With the jobs created, the investment in the facility, and lower electric rates, it’s calculated this single plant will have a $1.3 billion impact on the economy of RI. And yet so-called environmentalists still opposed it. The plan was to begin construction in summer 2016 and have the plant up and running by 2019, which didn’t happen. The plan to build it is now effectively dead.
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Emera Sells 3 New England Gas-Fired Plants for $590M

Emera Inc., an energy services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has just signed a deal to sell three natural gas-fired electric plants that it owns in New England to investment firm Carlyle Group for $590 million. The three plants–Bridgeport Energy, Tiverton Power and Rumford Power–collectively generate 1,100 megawatts of electricity. We’re always interested in such transactions because of the potential to sell Marcellus/Utica gas to feed the plants. The Carlyle Group owns a number of assets in the M-U region, perhaps most prominently the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery.
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Was NY Gov. Cuomo’s Fast-Track Approval of Gas-Fired Plant Legal?

In reading through the story we share below, we feel dirty. Like we need a shower. New York State is deeply, deeply corrupt–at the highest levels. As in Gov. Andrew Cuomo. And every now and again, that corruption spreads to otherwise good projects, like converting a small coal-fired electric plant to burn natural gas. The Greenidge Generation power station in Yates County, located along the shoreline of Seneca Lake in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate NY, is one such a project caught in the web of Cuomo’s corruption. Originally built in the 1930s, the operator of the plant, Atlas Holdings, wanted to convert it from burning coal to burning natural gas. After paying $120,000 to Andrew Cuomo’s campaign for reelection and more than $500,000 in payments to lobbyists, Atlas got a “fast track” approval and certain environmental exemptions from the Cuomo Administration. It’s a worthy project and should have been approved without such payoffs, but the project couldn’t get approved otherwise. Here’s the sordid story.
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Natural Gas with Zero Emissions? This Will Give Antis Heartburn

Natural gas-fired electric generating plants are a big deal. They burn far more efficiently, and pollute way less, than either coal or oil plants. Yet anti-fossil fuelers still hate them because, well, they burn a fossil fuel. And that means they put carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air. And ya know, CO2 is going to make Mom Earth fry “someday.” Whatever. But what if you could capture all of the CO2 and use it/channel it somewhere else, so it didn’t escape into the air? And what if you could ensure that no methane (CH4) escaped either? What if you had a truly zero-emissions natural gas-fired electric generating plant? Such a thing IS possible, and three investors, including Exelon (Fortune 100 electric generating company) is betting on this new technology as the future of electric generation. The question is, will antis shed their prejudice and embrace this new technology?
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NY Antis Prefer Burning Coal to NatGas at Ithaca Power Plant

The battle continues to rage in the lib Dem socialist utopia of Ithaca (Tompkins County), NY over a plan to convert a local coal-fired electric generating plant to use much better-for-the-environment and far-less-polluting natural gas. Yet local antis, who irrationally (and we mean clinically insane) hate fossil fuels, continue to object and preen themselves at county board meetings to object to converting the plant. They object to the conversion because natural gas is a “fossil fuel”–the modern form of eeeeevil in their eyes. And so (once again, demonstrating clinical insanity), they prefer to keep the plant burning coal. The plant will have to burn something. We don’t see any of these same antis volunteering to unhook themselves from the electric grid. The electricity flowing to their homes needs to get generated somehow, and it sure ain’t renewables doing it.
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Natgas Plants Produce 8X More Electricity than Wind, 16X Solar

We spotted an intriguing editorial in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette. It quotes a study by “an independent, market-based think tank” with some phenomenal findings. If you invest $1 million in solar, over a 30-year period you’ll get around 25 million kilowatt hours of electricity. If you invest that same $1 million in wind, you’ll get 50 million kilowatt hours over a 30-year period. But if you invest the same $1 million in natural gas-fired electric generation (cost to extract the gas, etc.), you’ll get 400 million kilowatt hours of electricity over 30 years! Natgas yields 8 times as much electricity per dollar as wind, and 16 times as much as solar.
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Wilkes-Barre Moxie Freedom NatGas Plant Taxes $752K per Year

As of September, the 1,000-megawatt Moxie Freedom Marcellus-fired power plant located near Wilkes-Barre, PA (Luzerne County) is up and running and feeding electricity it produces into the local power grid (see Moxie Freedom Marcellus-Fired Plant Near Wilkes-Barre Online). That means it’s now time to pay the piper–meaning it’s time to begin paying property taxes. How does a county value such a facility–the first of its kind in the county? They hire a private firm to do it, at a cost of $50,000! (Yikes, we’re in the wrong business.) The valuation is now done, and the private firm reckons Moxie Freedom is worth $42.2 million. Which means the facility will pay $752,000 per year in property taxes to various governmental entities.
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Study: PJM Elec Grid is Just Fine Changing from Coal/Nukes to Gas

PJM is the largest electric grid operator in the U.S. It serves 65 million people in 13 states plus the District of Columbia (including PA, OH, and WV). Last week PJM released a summary of findings for a report that evaluates PJM’s “resiliency”–ability to deliver electricity even under adverse conditions and heavy loads. Know what they found? PJM is reliable and can withstand periods of highly “stressed” conditions, including the phaseout of more coal-fired power plants. PJM, perhaps more than any other grid, relies increasingly on natural gas. The study shows reliance on Marcellus/Utica natgas is solid, contrary to the what scaremongers claim. There is no reason to worry.
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WV Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Gas-Fired Power Plant

ESC Brooke County power plant concept drawing

Last Thursday the West Virginia Supreme Court effectively ended opposition against building natural gas-fired power plants in the Mountain State. We’ve brought you a number of articles detailing how the coal lobby has tried its best, via numerous lawsuits, to block three Marcellus-fired power plants from getting built (see Murray Energy Continues to Block Gas-Fired Plants in WV). The final attempt to stop these projects is to challenge air permits issued by the WV Public Service Commission. Isn’t that rich? Coal objecting to air permits for natural gas electric plants, which pollute far less than coal. The WV Supreme Court took up a challenge by Big Coal (i.e. coal baron Robert Murray) against one of the projects located in Brooke County. Last week the Supremes ruled in favor of the gas-fired plant. Victory! So when will construction begin?
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Universities Float Plan for Utica-Powered Microgrid in Cleveland

Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University have floated a bold plan to build a $100 million microgrid to power the city of Cleveland, OH’s central business district in downtown, a 2-3 square mile area. At the heart of the microgrid would be a Utica gas-fired combined heat and power system (CHP). The CHP plant would produce up to 48 megawatts of electricity and act as a backup and/or alternative to the grid. The cost per kilowatt-hour would higher than electricity from the regular grid, but hey, it would mean virtually 100% up-time, providing electricity when grid demand is extreme (hot summers, cold winters). It’s all about reliability.
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Westmoreland Gas-Fired Plant Begins Testing, Online in Dec.

In August 2016, energy giant Tenaska (headquartered in Omaha, NE) broke ground to build a 925-megawatt natural gas-fueled power plant in South Huntingdon (Westmoreland County), PA (see Groundbreaking for Tenaska Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant in SWPA). The Tenaska Westmoreland Generating Station is costing ~$780 million to build. We have super good news to report about the project. The plant is now fully built and is actively testing, with a target startup date of Dec. 1.
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M-U Uses More NatGas for Electric Generation than Any Other Area

PJM Interconnection is a regional transmission organization (RTO) operating the electric grid in all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia, including PA, OH and WV. It is the largest competitive wholesale electricity market in the U.S. (second largest in the world), with more than 1,000 companies (1,376 generation sources) as members, serving 65 million customers with 177 gigawatts of generating capacity. It’s yuge! EIA published numbers yesterday quantifying natural gas-fired generation in PJM. The upshot: natural gas has eclipsed coal in electric generation in PJM, and PJM uses more natgas plants in both raw numbers and as a percentage of electricity generated, than any other power grid.
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Peoples Gas Installs First Residential NatGas Fuel Cell in U.S.

WATT Imperium Fuel Cell System Installed in a Residential Home (click for larger version)

In early September MDN told you about a cool new experiment coming from Peoples Natural Gas in the Pittsburgh area–installing a natural gas fuel cell in homes to help generate electricity (see Pittsburgh Utility Experiments with NatGas Fuel Cells in Homes). The fuel cells would not replace a connection to the electric grid, but would augment or supplement electric generation during heavy load times. And get this, it generates the electricity using natural gas with “little to zero emissions.” The new news: The first such installation happened in a home in Westmoreland County on Friday, September 28, 2018. The very first in the country.
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