The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released its draft rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions, requiring carbon dioxide (CO2) emission controls on new coal plants that are similar to those of the Tenaska Trailblazer Energy Center.
The Trailblazer project is designed to capture 85 to 90 percent of the CO2 it produces, keeping emission levels well below the requirements of the EPAâ€™s draft rule. Projects like Trailblazer are important because they help develop and commercialize the technology that can meet such standards.
These new rules also emphasize the role innovative plants like Trailblazer can play in national energy security. Fueling approximately 50 percent of U.S. electricity, coal will continue to be an important domestic fuel source for our economy.
An important benefit is that CO2 captured by the plant will be used to boost oil production in the Permian Basin by more than 10 million barrels annually, helping to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and creating regional jobs and revenue.
The project is estimated to create approximately 1,500 jobs at peak construction and more than 100 jobs during operation, in addition to increasing economic activity in and around Nolan County by approximately $1 billion.
A number of tasks and contracts must be completed before construction can begin, including engineering and design studies, securing customers for the electricity and carbon dioxide, and securing state, federal and local incentives designed to encourage development of carbon capture and storage projects. When these components are in place, a schedule for financing and constructing the energy center will be established.