Vectren considers installing new pollution control equipment at AB Brown Power Plant - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Vectren considers installing new pollution control equipment at AB Brown Power Plant

By Beth White

Officials at Vectren Corp., are looking at installing new environmental controls at the coal-fired A.B. Brown Generating Station in Posey County, Ind., to meet a 2010 federal deadline for stricter air-quality standards.

During a tour of the power plant held for local media today, Vectren environmental officials said they are comparing the cost-benefits of installing the new, state-of-the-art controls with the option of upgrading current pollution controls already installed at the plant. Vectren, along with utilities across the country that operate coal-fired power plants, must meet stricter pollution-control guidelines by the decade's end when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Air Interstate Rule goes into effect. Angila Rutherford, Vectren's director of environmental affairs, said the decision will involve a host of factors, including evaluating the long-term economic impact of the new technology, a limestone-based process that produces gypsum, a byproduct that can be sold and used in drywall and other building products. Today's tour was initiated by Vectren officials who want to increase the public's understanding of how the utility operates and the costs involved in producing electricity for Vectren customers. "We have a compelling story to tell about our electric generating fleet," said Jeff Whiteside, Vectren's vice president of corporate communications and public relations. "We want to continue educating our customers about the measureable progress we've made in the area of air quality, oftentimes ahead of government requirements."

Vectren is currently in the process of installing additional pollution controls for sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides at its power plants in Warrick County. The controls will reduce most of sulfur oxide pollution emissions when they come on line between 2007 and 2010.

The current pollution controls at the Brown plant remove 85 percent of the sulfur dioxide emissions on one unit, and 92 percent of the sulfur dioxide emissions on the second unit.

Vectren officials noted that measures taken by the utility have lead to significant reductions in air-pollutants since the Clean Air Act went into effect in 1970. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen emissions from Vectren plants are down 90 percent from 1970. The law requires Vectren and other utilities to take measures to reduce mercury emissions by an additional 65 percent by 2010.

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