NRG switching from coal to natural gas at Delaware plant

The changeover from coal to natural gas will drastically reduce emissions from the Dover Energy Center, while providing enough electricity to power more than 50,000 average Delaware homes.

NRG Thermal President Michael Carroll announced the plans this afternoon at the plant.  “We are committed as a partner to the state to clean up, and really move towards that energy efficient, environmentally-friendly fuel fleet that we’d like to have.”  The construction project to allow the switch will get underway next spring, and should be completed by mid-2013.  

“The environmental benefits of this project are absolutely remarkable,” said Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara.  “It’s a 99% reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions, over four million pounds of SO2 a year.  The nitrogen oxides go down by 92%, another 800,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides.”

Originally built in 1984, NRG is the first company to take advantage of the Delaware Energy Efficiency Investment Fund, which was established by the General Assembly last year.  The company will get a $500,000 grant from the fund which helps local businesses make capital equipment investments that reduce costs and improve energy efficiency.  “When you can improve the efficiency of the plant, the operation of the plant, when you can make it more competitive, when you can improve the environment, and therefore minimize the impact on people’s health, this is really a win-win-win,” said Delaware Governor Jack Markell.

The project will create about 75 construction jobs for about a year.

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