The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has announced terms of a preliminary agreement with NRG Energy Inc., which will lower annual emissions of sulfur dioxide by an estimated 4,300 tons, nitrogen oxides by an estimated 2,900 tons, and mercury by an estimated 1,200 ounces at the company's Indian River power plant in Millsboro, Del. by January 2012. The resulting emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are as much as 25 percent lower than what DNREC's Multi-Pollutant regulation requires for NRG's two largest units at the plant.
The preliminary agreement with NRG, which resolves the company’s appeal of the Multi-Pollutant Regulation, as well as potential enforcement action by the Department, reduces sulfur dioxide – a major contributor to the formation of fine particulate matter; and nitrogen oxides – a major contributor to formation of both ozone and fine particulate matter, beginning in 2008. The agreement also includes the retirement of the two oldest units at the plant in 2010 and 2011, which will permanently reduce sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury emissions (See charts below for reductions agreed to by NRG that fall lower than the state regulation.)
The Department’s regulation includes two deadlines for emission reductions: May 1, 2009 and Jan.1, 2012 for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions, and Jan. 1, 2009 and Jan. 1, 2013 for mercury. NRG will meet the mercury emissions requirement early for both regulatory phases and exceed the required emissions reductions for the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides by the 2012 deadline.
“Achieving greater levels of reductions in major emissions at the plant than are required under our regulation is a vital component of this agreement,” said John A. Hughes, DNREC Secretary. “The health and environmental benefits of phased in and long term emissions reductions at this plant outweigh the uncertainties of a protracted court case and I’m gratified that we have reached this agreement with NRG.”
DNREC and NRG plan to formalize the preliminary agreement with a consent order to be filed with the Delaware Superior Court.
The charts below show the agreed reductions for mercury, nitrogen oxide(NOx) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions.