Today, the Christie Administration continued its commitment to combating pollutants and protecting public health with the announcement that the state of New Jersey will require all power plants to meet a 2015 deadline to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, including the "peaker units'' used during high energy demand days (HEDD). Emissions from these HEDD units contribute significantly to the ozone problem because they are used primarily on hot, high humidity days during the summer when ozone levels are often at their highest.
The announcement coincides with today's groundbreaking for LS Power Company's new 738 megawatt natural gas-fired electrical power generating facility. The energy station, to be constructed in West Deptford, is expected to create hundreds of construction jobs, improve the environment and increase the reliability of the electric grid while reducing costs to ratepayers. LS Power also announced that the company has begun the permitting process to construct an additional unit, which will increase the electric output of the facility by an additional 400 megawatts.
"This groundbreaking represents another important step to ensure an affordable, secure and reliable energy future for New Jersey by increasing in-state energy production from cleaner sources, and reducing the need for coal-generated power from across state lines. At the same time, the enforcement of these emissions standards represents my Administration's aggressive commitment to combat in and out of state polluters and improve air quality for our residents," said Governor Christie. "This new LS Power facility is a perfect example of how in-state, natural gas-fired electrical power can be produced more cleanly, more efficiently and more reliably for our state. I applaud CEO Paul Segal for his commitment to improving the economy in South Jersey and his contribution to protect public health and the environment."
Enforcing the May 2015 deadline is consistent with the Christie Administration's commitment to improving air quality statewide. By doing so, an average of 5 up to 20 tons per day of nitrogen oxides emitted by "peaker units" will be eliminated. A request to extend the compliance deadline to 2017 for these plants was denied by the Christie Administration. Other steps Governor Christie has taken to ensure and protect New Jersey air quality include signing an Executive Order that targets air pollution caused by diesel engines used on major transportation construction projects in New Jersey; successfully petitioning the federal government under the Clean Air Act to take steps to force a coal-powered Pennsylvania power plant to dramatically reduce harmful air emissions (by 81% within 3 years) or shut down; taking action in federal court to force four other coal-fired power plants in western Pennsylvania to clean up emissions of pollutants that cause acid rain and degrade air quality in downwind states, including New Jersey; and adopting rules requiring significant reductions in sulfur content for home heating oil and other types of fuel oil used in the state.
The LS Power project will reach a peak workforce of approximately 600 workers during the construction phase of the 738-megawatt natural gas-fired, combined-cycle electric generating facility. The impact of those jobs is expected to infuse $100 million in construction phase payroll, over three years, into the local economy. Long term economic impacts of the West Deptford Energy Station (WDES) project include the creation of 25 permanent jobs in operations and maintenance with an estimated annual payroll of $2 million.
"The West Deptford Energy Station will feature state-of-the-art combustion turbine technology with advanced emission controls. As a New Jersey company, we are thrilled to break ground on a project that will bring clean, low cost and reliable electric energy to our home state," said Paul Segal, CEO of LS Power.
For residents and businesses, the West Deptford Energy Station will provide competitively priced, reliable electricity to New Jersey. As identified in the Long-term Capacity Agreement Pilot Program Agent's (LCAPP) Report, environmentally sound natural gas power generation projects such as the West Deptford Energy Station are expected to result in lower cost electricity for all consumers and businesses.
LS Power Group completed financing for this generation project in November 2011, and plans for commercial operations to begin in 2014. The project will utilize state-of-the-art combustion turbine technology with advanced emission controls.
New Jersey's Energy Master Plan (EMP) supports the development of in-state natural gas-fired electrical generation to address grid reliability issues, to improve the environment, and to reduce prices for New Jersey's ratepayers. New facilities like LS Power can protect air quality by eliminating the need to import power from poorly controlled units in other states, and by accelerating the decommissioning of older, dirtier, and less efficient electric generation plants in New Jersey, including heavy oil and some coal-fired power plants.