EDITORS: Please do not use
"Pacific Gas and Electric" or "PG&E" when
referring to PG&E Corporation or its National Energy Group.
The PG&E National Energy Group is not the same company as Pacific
Gas and Electric Company, the utility, and is not regulated by the
California Public Utilities Commission. Customers of Pacific Gas
and Electric Company do not have to buy products or services from
the National Energy Group in order to continue to receive quality
regulated services from Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
PG&E CORPORATION'S MASSACHUSETTS PLANTS FOR ADVANCED MERCURY EMISSIONS
CONTROL TECHNOLOGY TESTING
BOSTON, MA -PG&E Corporation's
(NYSE: PCG) National Energy Group (PG&E NEG) has been selected by
the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to participate in the nation's
first full-scale mercury emissions pilot program, which will evaluate
the use of control technology for coal-burning power plants. The
company has made a $600,000 commitment to conduct field testing
of mercury control technology at the 750-megawatt Salem Harbor Station
in Salem, Massachusetts and the 1,586-megawatt Brayton Point Station
in Somerset, Massachusetts. Currently, the nation lacks an effective
technology for controlling mercury emissions from coal-fired power
"This project re-affirms
our commitment to environmental leadership and to finding new ways
to reduce the environmental impact of electricity production," said
PG&E National Energy Group Vice President and Chief Administrative
Officer for the Northeast Steven A. Wolfgram. "Mercury emissions
control has emerged as a significant environmental issue over the
past few years. We want to be at the forefront of closing the gap
between our goals of controlling mercury emissions and the current
lack of knowledge about how to do so."
The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) must determine whether to regulate mercury emissions
from coal-fired power plants by December 15, 2000. However, a 1998
EPA report entitled "Study of Hazardous Air Pollutant Emissions
from Electric Utility Steam Generating Units - Final Report to Congress"
concluded that no feasible technologies currently available could
effectively reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired facilities.
The DOE proposed this joint
government-business funded project to offer coal power plant operators
better ways to reduce these emissions at much lower costs. According
to the DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory, which is spearheading
the project, the goal is to develop a cost-effective technology
that will allow the industry to reduce annual mercury emissions
from power plants by 50 to 70% of current levels.
"Coal-fired power plants
play an important role in the nation's fuel diversity, which helps
ensure electricity price stability and reliability. Finding a cost-effective
and technologically-feasible method of mercury emissions control
will improve the environment while also securing the important role
that coal-fired power plants play in our nation's electric supply,"
says Scott Renninger, Project Manager at DOE's National Energy Technology
Laboratory in Morgantown, West Virginia.
PG&E NEG will work in partnership
with the lead contractor ADA-Environmental Solutions, a Colorado-based
pollution control technology company, the Electric Power Research
Institute (EPRI), and two other generating companies to design and
engineer systems to reduce mercury from stack emissions. Energy
and Environmental Strategies, a Shrewsbury, Massachusetts-based
environmental consulting firm helped prepare the bid and will act
as a subcontractor on the project.
The Salem Harbor and Brayton
Point stations will use a portable mercury control system developed
by ADA-Environmental Solutions to test mercury controls on bituminous
coals. The project was selected in the first of two rounds of competitions
that the Energy Department began in March 2000. The total project
cost will be $6.7 million, and will be paid for by the DOE, PG&E
NEG, and the other companies participating in the project.
"We have made great progress
in controlling traditional emissions like nitrogen oxides and sulfur
dioxide. Now we face the more difficult challenge of controlling
mercury, which is found in miniscule quantities in a large amount
of fuel," Wolfgram said. "We are excited about the chance to develop
this next generation of emissions control technologies that can
be used throughout the industry. We take pride in our continuing
effort to produce clean, reliable, and low cost energy."
PG&E NEG is recognized for
being a pioneer in advanced environmental control technologies.
In 1994, the company was the first in the country to use Selective
Catalytic Reduction (SCR) in a new commercial coal-fired power plant,
resulting in a 60% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions from the
average coal plant. This use of SCR has set a standard for all new
coal plants, and it is now the most widely recognized technology
to meet new regulatory requirements for nitrogen oxide reductions.
PG&E Corporation with 1999
operating revenues of nearly $21 billion and operations in 27 states,
markets energy services and products throughout North America through
its National Energy Group. The Corporation's National Energy Group
has a significant presence in the New England area with ownership
in 20 power plants and one of the most active power trading businesses
in the region.