State legislators, environmental officials and community leaders joined PPL
on Thursday (5/29) to mark the completion of a $600 million environmental improvement
project at PPL's Montour power plant north of Danville, Pa.
The project not only will result in air quality improvements, but it
also has significant economic benefits in terms of new jobs for north
"Today we're celebrating a major investment in Pennsylvania's
environment, economy and electricity infrastructure," said William H.
Spence, PPL's executive vice president and chief operating officer.
"Equipped with the most advanced pollution controls available in the
industry, PPL's Montour plant is among the cleanest coal-fired power plants
in the country.
"PPL's investment is also helping ensure the long-term viability of a
generating plant that produces more than 10 billion kilowatt-hours a year
of safe, dependable and increasingly needed power for Pennsylvania
business, industry and residents," Spence said.
He said the scrubbers will remove at least 97 percent of sulfur dioxide
from plant emissions. As a co-benefit, the scrubbers will also reduce
mercury and other materials -contributing to significant improvements in
"Since its start in 2004, this project has created many benefits, even
beyond what it will do to improve air quality," Spence said. "This
has provided hundreds of construction jobs, will provide about 30 permanent
new jobs at the Montour plant to operate and maintain the scrubbers and
related equipment, and has created an innovative economic development
opportunity through the recycling of a byproduct into something valuable."
The byproduct is synthetic gypsum, which will be used by United States
Gypsum Co. to manufacture drywall at a $180 million manufacturing facility
across the road from the Montour plant in Washingtonville. The drywall
plant is expected to create 150 permanent jobs for the community
surrounding the plant.
"PPL's investment in the scrubbers demonstrates that what's good for
the environment also can be a good way to spur economic development in the
community," Spence said.
Thursday's event foreshadows the completion of a similar scrubber
project at PPL's Brunner Island power plant in York County, Pa. The first
of Brunner Island's scrubbers is scheduled to begin operating in late 2008
and the second in the spring of 2009.
The scrubbers and other environmental improvements at Montour and
Brunner Island represent a combined $1.6 billion investment by PPL in
environmental upgrades for its coal-fired power plants. The scrubbers
represent the second- largest construction project in PPL history, trailing
only the construction of the Susquehanna nuclear plant near Berwick, Pa.
Montour Unit 1 began commercial operation in 1972; Unit 2 came on line
the following year. Each unit has 769 megawatts of generating capacity. The
plant also has a 15-megawatt auxiliary unit for a total of about 1,552
megawatts of generating capacity.