By Robert Peltier -- June 13, 2009
Editor Note: Robert Peltier, Ph.D., PE, is editor-in-chief of POWER magazine. His bio is at the end of this post.
Environmental retrofits at coal plants have experienced costs greater than estimated by the Energy Information Administration. That is the bad news. The good news is:
- There are no significant technical problems with flue gas desulphurization (FGD) or selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technologies. Utilities are not buying “serial number one” so the performance or compliance risk is negligible. Completion risk for any project also appears to be minimal.
- The costs to construct either technology are reasonably well understood so that project capital cost estimates should be on the money.
- The cost escalation (updated below) during the boom is now subsiding.
The overall result is that the “dirtiest” power plants have been and are being cleaned up to current stringent air-emission standards via the Clean Air Act and other pollution regulation.…