* Steve Daniels in Crain’s yesterday…
The fate of a $1.3 billion natural gas plant under construction in Grundy County is mainly what kept the Senate from acting yesterday on the most ambitious state energy bill in 25 years.
Competitive Power Ventures, a Silver Spring, Md.-based power generator, threatened to pull the plug on a massive gas-fired facility it’s building in Morris if the bill as drafted yesterday was passed, the company confirmed today.
That was what Senate President Don Harmon was referring to yesterday after the Senate’s adjournment when he said somewhat cryptically: “There are significant investments and significant jobs associated with those (gas) plants. People could be out of a job Monday if we passed that bill today.”
The issue for CPV is provisions environmentalists have championed that not only would set a firm “decarbonization” date for the burning of natural gas to generate electricity, but also would require steady declines in emissions over the years leading up to that.
* The governor’s office believed, however, that they had found a way to address the issue. This is from the testimony that Deputy Gov. Christian Mitchell was prepared to deliver to a Senate committee on Tuesday morning, several hours before the plug was pulled…
We also clarified that declining caps on natural gas would be in the aggregate and would both allow the potential build of new plants like JPower and CPV Three Rivers, and then advantage them to stay open the longest.
*** UPDATE *** From the governor’s office…
• The language in the Governor’s bill never had individual plant declining caps. There is an aggregate cap on the total of emissions from gas plants that goes down 20% every five years. So, if for example, there are 1,000 tons of GHG emissions, they would have to be at 800 in five years—not that Plant A would have to reduce by 20 percent.
• The language was clarified after this issue arose in the legislators’ meeting Saturday morning, and labor had both a walk-through of the language Monday evening, as well as bullet points that we gave them which reiterated this point. So, I’m not sure where Mr. Rumsey got his information, but it was wrong.
• In addition, because we specifically didn’t want to discourage the construction of the plant referenced in the article, as well as two other gas plants that are in permitting stages, we clarified that under the EPA rulemaking that will determine which plants needed to close sooner rather than others, that the newest plants would have the advantage because of the environmental technology that’s installed on the newer plants.
• So, while other gas plants may rightfully be thought of to be in danger of closing in 5 years or ten, it isn’t likely that any of the new plants would be in the early closure mix.