Montour Plant Among the Cleanest Coal-Fired Power Plants in the Country

Published on May 29, 2008 at 10:35 PM

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 central Pennsylvania.

"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 environmental performance.

"Since its start in 2004, this project has created many benefits, even beyond what it will do to improve air quality," Spence said. "This project 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.

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