The Lower Colorado River Authority is in the early phases of a project to install technology to reduce mercury emissions at the Fayette Power Project (FPP) near La Grange. When the project is complete, emissions at FPP will meet the federal government’s recently issued Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for allowable limits of mercury and particulate matter. Particulate matter includes both solid particles and liquid droplets found in emissions.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new standards for mercury emissions that will require some plants, including the LCRA coal-fired plant in Fayette County, to comply with an emission limit of 1.2 pounds of mercury per trillion Btu based on a 30-day rolling average.
FPP is required to reduce mercury emissions and install Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS) to measure and report mercury and particulate matter emissions to demonstrate compliance with EPA regulations. Once the project is complete, LCRA expects at least 80 percent of mercury will be removed from the flue gas of each of the three coal-fired units at FPP. LCRA is on target to complete the project to meet the EPA compliance deadline of April 2015.
LCRA is implementing pollution controls that conform to maximum achievable control technology. The project is now in the design and installation phase.
In 2011, LCRA completed installation of scrubbers for FPP Units 1 and 2 to comply with federal standards for reducing SO2 emissions. The cost of that installation was about $400 million. The scrubber on Unit 3 was installed when the unit was constructed and went into service in 1988. It was recently upgraded at a cost of more than $24 million. Scrubbers are now capable of removing 95 percent of SO2 from Units 1, 2 and 3.
LCRA and Austin Energy co-own Units 1 and 2, and LCRA owns Unit 3.