Purdue gets state approval for coal power plant - FW Daily News: Archives

Purdue gets state approval for coal power plant

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Saturday, July 17, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 4:55 pm, Tue Mar 12, 2013.

WEST LAFAYETTE — Indiana environmental officials

have given tentative approval to Purdue University's plans for a new

coal-fired power plant opposed by activists who want the school to

generate electricity from cleaner sources.

In a letter mailed this

week to Purdue, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management

informed the school that it has approved an air permit renewal Purdue

needed to proceed with the project.

Purdue plans to add a $3.98

million natural gas-fired...

WEST LAFAYETTE — Indiana environmental officials

have given tentative approval to Purdue University's plans for a new

coal-fired power plant opposed by activists who want the school to

generate electricity from cleaner sources.

In a letter mailed this

week to Purdue, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management

informed the school that it has approved an air permit renewal Purdue

needed to proceed with the project.

Purdue plans to add a $3.98

million natural gas-fired boiler to its campus power plant and replace a

50-year-old coal-fired boiler with a new $28 million cleaner burning

model. School officials say the upgrade will dramatically lower campus

soot and mercury emissions.

But activists who oppose the new

coal-fired boiler said the school is sticking with coal at a time when

other universities are shifting to cleaner power sources.

Ball

State University, for example, is moving to eliminate use of its

coal-fired boilers by installing a geothermal energy system that will

tap the earth's nearly constant temperature for campus heating and

cooling.

Steve Francis, Indiana Sierra Club co-chairman said it

"makes little sense" for Purdue to build a new boiler "that is more

expensive and more polluting than other options" at a time when federal

restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions are possible.

"If Purdue

pushes forward with this, it's proving that it's stuck in the past and

abandoning its commitment to innovation and leadership in the energy

field," Francis said Friday in a statement.

He said the Sierra

Club is evaluating its options on how to respond to the permit renewal

and is weighing whether to pursue an appeal.

Interested parties

have until the first week of August to petition IDEM to reconsider the

permit. If an appeal is filed and is successful, the agency could

modify, delay or even reverse its decision.

School officials say

the project will cut soot emissions by 93 percent and mercury emissions

by 70 percent at the West Lafayette campus' Wade Power Plant.

The

power plant supplies electricity, steam for heating and chilled water

for cooling of campus buildings.

Purdue vice president for

physical facilities Bob McMains said staff will review the more than 360

pages of IDEM's permit report before moving on making any change to the

power plant.

"We want to make sure that it has everything that we

want before I make a recommendation to the senior leadership on how to

proceed," he said.

McMains said he would not be surprised if there

were an appeal.

During the fiscal year that ended June 30, the

plant purchased or used about 177,834 tons of coal at a cost of $13.9

million, said Erick Van Meter, Purdue director of utilities.

Alexis

Boxer, a Sierra Student Coalition organizer for its Campuses Beyond

Coal program that promotes energy alternatives at colleges that use coal

for power, said student action against the permit will start up again

this fall.

"We are going to be there fighting this until they

break ground," she said.

 

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard