Environmental Permitting and Compliance for Electric Power

From Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permitting challenges to specific national and regional regulatory programs focused directly upon the fossil-fueled electric power industry (e.g., Clean Air Interstate Rule, Clean Air Mercury Rule), power generation facilities face daunting regulatory hurdles. Trinity has assisted clients with nearly 500 power-related projects, offering an array of services, such as federal air permitting, due diligence environmental investigations, regulatory and environmental compliance management, and environmental regulations training.  Learn more about Trinity's services for the electric power industry including integrated environmental support for new project development.

Client Testimonial

"Trinity Consultants played an instrumental role in conducting our Class I visibility modeling at a new combined cycle combustion turbine generating station. With superior knowledge and expertise, Trinity utilized a refined CALPUFF model that predicted the potential visibility impacts from the station. This effort afforded us the operational flexibility we needed."

Jay Hudson, P.E., Manager
Performance & Environmental Services, Santee Cooper

Environmental Regulatory Round Up

  • Clean Power Plan: On Monday August 3, 2015, EPA finalized an historic rulemaking, the Clean Power Plan. Although the key objective of the CPP is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32% from existing power plants by 2030 versus 2005 baseline levels, it will likely impact all fossil-fuel burning sources to some degree. The Clean Power Plan, a core component of President Obama’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is bold in its scope, imposing significant requirements on states and on the electric power industry. If it survives the certain court challenges, the Clean Power Plan will fundamentally reshape the relationship between US EPA and the states; just as significantly, it will dramatically alter the nature of electricity generation in the United States and set a pathway to prohibit or discourage usage of certain fuels in industrial sectors. The impact of the Clean Power Plan will vary in each state, but in most states will result in an increased cost of electricity.
  • Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR)/Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR):
    Although there are many, two of the regulatory challenges affecting the electric power industry, particularly for coal-fired boilers, is compliance with the CAIR and CAMR rules. The final CAIR rule was promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) on March 10, 2005, and the CAMR was issued as a final rule on March 15, 2005. Both rules are “cap-and-trade” emission reduction programs where an overall cap on emissions is established and then pollutant “allowances” are divided up to those emission source owners required to comply with the program. The EPA’s CAIR rule is focused upon reductions of NOx and SO2 emissions from the fossil fuel power industry located in the eastern half of the U.S., while the CAMR rules establish reductions of mercury emissions from coal-fired utility powers located across the entire country. The individual states that are required to implement both these rules are required to update their State Implementation Plans (SIPs) and gain approval from the U.S. EPA as to how these programs will specifically be implemented. For more information on either of these rules, please contact any of the Trinity power industry experts listed below.
  • NSR: Two judges from Midwest district courts have agreed with EPA’s position in three separate cases, while two judges from Southeast district courts have agreed with industry in two separate cases - one of which was affirmed by a three judge panel on the 4th Circuit. All five cases were factually identical. Meanwhile, EPA plans to soon propose amending the definition of modification to more closely match the industry-held contention in the 4th Circuit case.

Project Profiles

  • A major national power generation company proposed to construct a merchant electricity plant with total facility power output of 1240 MW. Trinity prepared the Prevention of Significant Deterioriation (PSD) permit application for this facility on a tight timeframe. The PSD application included a full BACT analysis for CO, NOx, PM, SO2 and VOC; ISCST3 dispersion modeling; CALPUFF regional haze and deposition analyses; and a detailed regulatory review. As a result, the client received timely permit approval and began construction on schedule.
  • A North American energy company was considering construction of several power generation facilities, some of which would be built in nonattainment areas or in the counties that are collectively considered a zone of influence to a nonattainment area. In order to build a power generation facility in these regions, the company would have required emission offsets. Trinity identified potential sources of NOx emission credits and assisted with negotiations for the purchase of these credits.
  • Trinity assisted a power generation facility with a feasibility study for a new coal-fired power plant. Trinity estimated emissions for NOx and SO2, conducted Air Quality Related Values (AQRV) modeling using CALPUFF, and conducted Class I area increment modeling using ISCST3. Trinity demonstrated that the proposed facility would not cause a violation of the Class I Increment, completing the entire analysis in less than one month.
  • Trinity prepared a PSD permit application for a proposed 1,200 MW natural-gas fired power plant to be located in the northwestern U.S. on Native American lands. The project required the submittal of a PSD permit application, a Title V (Part 71) operating permit application, an analysis of the acid rain requirements, and an analysis of the applicability of the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs). The PSD permit application included a Best Available Control Technology (BACT) analysis and a detailed modeling analysis both for the surrounding area (Class II modeling analysis), and the Class I areas. AERMOD-Prime was used in the Class II modeling analysis while CALPUFF was used to determine expected impacts to visibility, acid deposition and PSD Class I Increment levels at all Class I areas within 200 km of the proposed plant.
Industry Experts
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