GP&L Makes Progress Toward Cleaner Air - Cuts NOx Rate by 85%
GARLAND, Texas, April 13, 2004 - GP&L is ahead of schedule in protecting clean air in North Texas, reducing overall nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 85% in less than nine years. NOx contributes to summer ozone level concerns, resulting in the brown smog so familiar to North Texans.
Although most of the NOx is produced by vehicles, power generation does contribute to the total. Significant reductions have been achieved at all three GP&L power plants -- Olinger, Spencer and Newman -- with May 2005 requirements already reached at four of the six generating units, according to Harold Dawson, Environmental Engineer.
At Spencer, NOx emissions have been reduced from 509 tons in 1997 to 38 tons in 2003. At the largest plant, Olinger, 2003 emissions totaled 259 tons of NOx, compared with 1,479 in 1995.
"We have made terrific strides in reaching the new regulations," said Dawson, who, along with Spencer Operations & Maintenance Administrator Frank Hoelscher, has been responsible for guiding the NOx reduction plans for GP&L.
To achieve the reductions, GP&L installed emission controls to create lower combustion temperatures when burning natural gas. All of the equipment modifications have now been made; GP&L will reach further reductions in coming months by additional combustion tuning. The changes were expensive -- more than one million dollars each for each of the six generating units.
GP&L has also made progress regarding emissions when the company switches from natural gas to fuel oil, which occurs occasionally during winter natural gas curtailments. "It's harder to control NOx with fuel oil," said Dawson, "but with combustion tuning, we still meet the standards."
GP&L measures emissions on a 24/7 basis and reports the measurements to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) every 90 days. Air quality and emission goals were mandated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.