Cinergy plans $700 million pollution control program

Cinergy Corp. said Monday its operating companies plan to invest more than $700 million in pollution control equipment and other methods to comply with US government rules that require reductions in emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx), a gas that contributes to the formation of smog. Cinergy was one of seven large US electric utilities sued by the US Environmental Protection Agency in November 1999 and accused of releasing millions of tons of pollutants into the air.


Cinergy Corp. said Monday its operating companies plan to invest more than $700 million in pollution control equipment and other methods to comply with US government rules that require reductions in emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx), a gas that contributes to the formation of smog.

``We expect to have NOx reduction projects at nearly every coal-fired generating station in the Cinergy system," said William F. Tyndall, Cinergy vice-president of environmental affairs.

The new program is designed to meet a series of state and federal Clean Air Act programs requiring coal-fired generating stations to reduce their NOx emissions. Cincinatti-based Cinergy was one of seven large US electric utilities sued by the US Environmental Protection Agency in November 1999 and accused of releasing millions of tons of harmful pollutants into the air that caused acid rain and smog in much of the eastern US.

Federal officials charged 17 coal-burning plants operated by the seven companies violated the Clean Air Act by making major modifications without installing the updated equipment required, and failing to get federal permits. The companies denied the charges.

Monday Cinergy said it expects to install up to 11 selective catalytic reduction units, or SCRs, at several of its generating stations to meet new federal regulatory requirements that begin in 2003. It said the technology is expected to reduce NOx emissions by 85-90%.

SCRs act as giant catalytic converters, using a chemical reaction to convert NOx to a harmless emission of nitrogen, water, and oxygen. Cinergy also plans to install other pollution control technologies, make combustion improvements, and utilize market opportunities as part of its overall plan to reduce NOx emissions. Tyndall said construction represents an engineering challenge and one of the biggest projects in the history of the company.

Installation of four SCRs has already begun at East Bend, Rabbit Hash, Ky.; Gibson, Owensville, Ind.; and Miami Fort, North Bend, Ohio; generating stations, Cinergy reported.

Future SCR installations also are being considered for the Cayuga, Cayuga, Ind.; Zimmer and the Moscow, Ohio; generating plants. Other control technologies are under consideration for the Beckjord, New Richmond, Ohio; Gallagher, New Albany, Ind.; and Wabash River, West Terre Haute, Ind. power stations, Cinergy said.

While the SCRs will provide most of the NOx reductions, Cinergy said will also install other types of controls including new computer software, known as ``boiler optimization,'' at all generating stations. The company compared the software to that used in cars to increase engine economy and efficiency, constantly making adjustments to the engine depending on conditions.

Since 1990, Cinergy said has invested nearly $650 million on pollution control throughout its three-state service territory. In addition, Cinergy installed the first selective noncatalytic reduction unit (SNCR) in this region three years ago at its Miami Fort generating station.

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