STATUS: In progress with opposition
OPPOSITION: Sierra Club
PROSPECTS: Unit I In Service, Permit Application For Unit II Pending
BACKGROUND: In May 2006, LS Power and its affiliate, Plum Point Energy Associates, LLC, began construction of a 665 MW pulverized coal boiler (PCB) at the Plum Point Power Station located 50 miles north of Memphis, Tennessee and three miles south of Osceola, Arkansas at the intersection of Highway 198 and 239. Plum Point was originally permitted for a single 665 MW pulverized coal unit in August 2003. There have been a few modifications to the permit since the original permit was released, including the transfer of interest from LS Power Services to Dynergy. The $1 billion facility known as Plum Point Unit 1 is designed to burn primarily low-sulfur sub-bituminous Powder River Basin Coal, with the flexibility of blending in alternate coals and apparently went into commercial operation in August or September 2010.
In or about March 2008, Plum Point Energy Associates, LLC submitted an application to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality for modifications to the existing air permit to allow the construction of a proposed Unit II that would share some "common facilities" with Unit I. On August 26, 2008, Sierra Club sent a letter to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its Rural Utilities Service (RUS), claiming investments in Plum Point violated federal law. Specifically, Sierra Club alleged USDA has failed to fully vet the plants' potential impacts before authorizing their construction, ignoring key concerns like the financial risk associated with the coal plants' contribution to global warming, adverse impacts on the environment and the availability of cleaner, cheaper alternatives. On September 25, 2008, East Texas Electric Cooperative (ETEC) – a co-op investing in the Plum Point plant – filed suit against Sierra Club and USDA, claiming that USDA failed to process approvals related to the Hempstead and Plum Point plants due to the threat of legal action from the Club.
On October 16, 2008, Plum Point Energy Associates submitted a MACT application for the proposed Unit II. However, in December 2008, Dynegy CEO Bruce Williamson announced that the company was reevaluating its role in developing new power plants, including Plum Point. Williamson cited the tightening credit markets and difficulty in permitted new coal plants as reasons for reconsideration. Nevertheless, Plum Point reportedly submitted air modeling files for Unit II in 2009. A draft Title V permit was apparently completed in July 2010 and is pending before the ADEQ
LAST UPDATED: November 10, 2010