BP predicts power plant would cut emissions

Published on Thu, Oct 4, 2001 by Meg Olson

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BP predicts power plant would cut emissions

By Meg Olson

A recently completed study will point the way for BP to overcome hurdles to building a power plant at its Cherry Point site. “The document is almost like a recommendation to us of what our permit should look like,” said BP’s northwest director of external affairs Bill Kidd. “This was a way to flush out some of the problems early.”

The Potential Site Study was prepared by Shapiro and Associates for the state energy facility site evaluation council (EFSEC) after BP applied in March to build a 750mW natural-gas fired co-generation facility on 25 acres next to the Cherry Point Refinery. BP asked for the study as a way to identify hot issues before the company submits its formal application to have the facility plan approved.

The report identified air quality as the area that had “received the most attention from agencies and the public.” Kidd said the company expects emissions from the combined refinery and power plant will be lower than current emissions, because heat from turbines will be used to create stem for use in the refinery.

“The advantage is you’re able to integrate it into the refinery process. By shutting down other, older pieces of equipment you end up with a net decrease of emissions,” he said. The report states BP expects several package boilers and on-site electric generators now operating at the refinery would be turned off if the co-generation facility were built.

In addition to improving efficiency for the refinery, Kidd said the project could help alleviate the power crunch for local users. The refinery will only use 100mW of power, leaving over 600 to be sold. According to the site study, BP has offered to make that power available to Washington and Whatcom County utilities at preferred rates.

A formal application for the project should be ready by December, Kidd said. That will trigger a flurry of environmental reviews, culminating in an Environmental Impact Statement, followed by formal adjudication proceedings and, finally, review by the governor. The site study timeline anticipates a decision on the project by late 2002.

Kidd said BP is confident it can address any concerns about the project that come up. “If there’s going to be a power plant built anywhere, next to our refinery is probably the best place,” he said. “We are in a heavy industrial zone. All the infrastructure is in place. There’s no other place in Washington that can bring all these things together.”

The 190-page potential site report is available for free from the EFSEC either as a hard copy or CD-ROM. Request should be made to Michelle Elling at 360/956-2124 or by mail at PO Box 43172, Olympia, WA 98504-3172. The document is also on the world wide web at www.efsec.wa.gov.
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