Administration wants nitrogen oxide emissions cut; ground broken for new plant

TRENTON – A new plant in South Jersey will be created and up and running by 2014 that will produce

TRENTON – A new plant in South Jersey will be created and up and running by 2014 that will produce fewer emissions than older ones, according to the state.

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The groundbreaking of the new 738-megawatt LS Power Company natural gas-fired and electrical power plant occurred today in West Deptford, and is expected to create some 600 construction jobs.

Once the plant is constructed, there are plans to create 25 permanent jobs in operations and maintenance with an estimated annual payroll of $2 million.  

The groundbreaking took place on the same day that the Christie Administration unveiled its goal to have all power plants reduce their level of nitrogen oxide emissions by 2015.

“This groundbreaking represents another important step to ensure an affordable, secure and reliable energy future for New Jersey by increasing in-state energy production from cleaner sources, and reducing the need for coal-generated power from across state lines,” Gov. Chris Christie said in a statement.

“At the same time, the enforcement of these emissions standards represents my administration’s aggressive commitment to combat in- and out-of-state polluters and improve air quality for our residents.”

The goal will help reduce emissions levels between 5 and 20 tons daily, according to the administration.

Emissions – especially those from so-called “peaker’’ units – contribute significantly to the ozone problem because they are used primarily on hot, high-humidity days during the summer when ozone levels are often at their highest, the administration said.  

The company also plans to construct another facility that will provide an additional 400 megawatts of electricity.

There were requests made to move back the target date to 2017, but it was rejected.

“The West Deptford Energy Station will feature state-of-the-art combustion turbine technology with advanced emission controls. As a New Jersey company, we are thrilled to break ground on a project that will bring clean, low-cost and reliable electric energy to our home state,” said Paul Segal, CEO of LS Power, in a statement.

Not all were pleased about another power plant opening.

Jeff Tittel, executive director of the N.J. Sierra Club, said the new facility is more like a blast from the past, setting the state back from the goal of creating more opportunities for renewable energy.

“New Jersey should not be celebrating building a new fossil fuel plant, especially one that promotes fracking (hydraulic fracturing), threatening the drinking water for 3 million New Jerseyans,” he said in a statement. “This is especially upsetting since this administration has decided to cut renewable energy programs in favor of subsidizing fossil fuels.

“It is ironic that he is at this site today since when he implemented $2 billion for gas power plants he cut this plant out,” he added. “Now New Jersey may have four fossil fuel plants instead of offshore wind and solar.”

Administration wants nitrogen oxide emissions cut; ground broken for new plant