EPA Issues Greenhouse Gas Permit for Texas Plant

Constructing an electric generating plant in Matagorda, Texas, represents $450 million in economic development and hundreds of jobs.

EPA announced it has issued a final greenhouse gas Prevention of Significant Deterioration construction permit to Apex Matagorda Energy Center, LLC, located in Matagorda, Texas. The permit allows the company to build a 317-megawatt electric generating plant and auxiliary equipment to store bulk energy for the electrical grid. "We are working closely with business to protect both our environment and our economy," said EPA Region 6 Administrator Ron Curry. "This permit demonstrates how business can save energy, reduce emissions, and take decisive steps toward a low-carbon future."

According to EPA, the plant represents $450 million in economic development and hundreds of jobs. It will supplement energy from stored, compressed high-pressure air with natural gas-fired combustion turbines to produce electricity during off-peak hours.

EPA's national GHG regulations specify that, beginning Jan. 2, 2011, projects that increase greenhouse gas emissions substantially will require an air permit. But states are best equipped to run GHG air permitting programs, according to the agency, and Texas is working to replace a federal implementation plan with its own state program, which will eliminate the need for businesses to seek air permits from EPA. To date in Texas, EPA has approved more than 30 GHG permits, proposed 11 others, and has more than 30 more under development.

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