Gas-to-power project near Marshall seeks emissions permit

MARSHALL, Mich. — A New York developer trying to build a 1,000-megawatt natural gas-fired power project in Michigan is making a second attempt to secure an air pollution permit.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) is making public comments this month on Marshall Energy Center LLC’s application for emissions permits needed to build a twin natural gas power plant in Marshall City.
Development partners in White Plains, N.Y., want to build two 500-megawatt natural gas turbines at the city’s Brooks Industrial Park, an approximately 70-acre site along Tallmadge Creek northwest of Stuart and Upper Brace lakes.
The two plants, which cost about $400 million to build, will be able to generate enough electricity to power more than 1 million homes, according to state regulators.
As proposed, the project will comply with air quality regulations and a permit has been drafted, the state said.EGLE will seek public comments on the draft by May 31, and said it will hold a public hearing on May 17 if requested by May 9.
Natural gas is a fossil fuel that produces climate-warming carbon emissions.According to EGLE, these plants will emit about 4 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.
Other elements of the facility emit pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and several types of particulate matter.
According to EGLE, Calhoun County meets national air quality standards, although this is based on air monitors in neighboring Kalamazoo County.
This is the second time the project has passed EGLE’s emissions permit.EGLE said initial plans called for construction to begin in 2019.The original state license was extended once, but it finally expired in December 2019.State law requires construction to begin within 18 months of the permit being issued.
The program has changed since the original application.Plans initially called for wet cooling towers, but were later changed to closed-loop dry cooling towers, which would reduce the project’s water usage and eliminate the need for new high-capacity wells to be installed in the Marshall water system.
Project fuel will be supplied by existing Vector and Panhandle natural gas pipelines that run through nearby industrial parks.
William Ladd, president of Development Partners, said the project has not yet reached a commitment with the utility to buy electricity from the planned facility.
“What we’re waiting for is a commitment from the off-takers to buy power,” Rudd said.”It really pushes the timeline for the facility.”
Ladd said he still plans to build within the city’s industrial park.In March, the Coldwater Daily Reporter reported that the company did not renew its lease there in the fall and had withdrawn from the queue of power generation projects seeking to join the Mid-Continent Independent System Operator (MISO) grid.
Multiple calls to Marshall City interim manager Derek Perry and utilities chief Kevin Maynard seeking more information went unanswered.The city has been relying on the project to help meet shortfalls in local electricity needs.
Ladd would not estimate when construction would begin on the project and declined to elaborate on financing, which he said was related to the purchase agreement.
“There needs to be enough off-takers to move the whole facility forward. That’s really the driving force here,” he said.Once built, the power complex “is likely to be owned by the utility or one of the public power agencies,” he said.
“These projects take time,” Ladd said.”Michigan’s power sector has changed a lot.”
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Post time: May-08-2022