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WNC Air Quality News

Public Hearing on Duke Energy Progress Permit Renewal - April 29


Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency

Public Hearing Scheduled on Air Permit Renewal for Duke Power Plant in Arden

March 26, 2015 - The Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency (WNCRAQA) has scheduled a public hearing for April 29 on the renewal of the air quality permit for the Duke Energy Progress, Inc. - Asheville Steam Electric Plant in Arden.

Duke Energy Progress has applied for the air permit renewal for its coal-fired boilers, combustion turbines, and associated pollution control equipment at the Asheville Steam Plant, 200 CP&L Drive, in Buncombe County.  Duke Energy Progress (formerly Progress Energy and CP&L) has operated a power plant at this site since the 1960s.

The public hearing has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on April 29 at the Clyde A. Erwin High School Auditorium, 60 Lees Creek Road, Asheville.  Individuals may register to speak at the hearing and/or submit written comments.  Participants who wish to speak at the hearing should plan to limit their comments to three minutes or less.  The hearing officer will have the discretion to limit speaking times, if necessary, to accommodate the number of speakers. 

Written comments will be accepted until April 30 and can be submitted at the hearing or sent to:

All comments received on or prior to that date will be considered by the WNCRAQA in making its final decision to issue the Title V permit.

The permit renewal concerns all of the air emissions sources at the Asheville Steam Plant, including two coal-fired boilers (Units 1 and 2) and two natural gas / No. 2 fuel oil-fired, simple-cycle combustion turbines (Units 3 and 4).  Under the permit, Duke Energy Progress must demonstrate that it can comply with state and federal rules for controlling particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, visible emissions, volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants.  The plant uses various air pollution control devices, including a wet scrubber, electrostatic precipitators and a selective catalytic reduction system. Other permit conditions require the facility operators to:

  • Monitor air pollution control equipment
  • Conduct periodic stack testing of emissions from boilers annually
  • Operate continuous emission monitors for nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide

The draft permit, permit application, emissions calculations, and all other materials available to the WNCRAQA that are relevant to the permit decision are available for public review at the following address:

  • Western North Carolina Regional Air Quality Agency
    49 Mount Carmel Road
    Asheville, NC  28806

Materials are available for review during the hours of 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.  The office phone number is (828) 250-6777.

By law, the WNCRAQA must review permits for compliance with existing air quality regulations.  On June 22, 2010, the EPA revised the Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for sulfur dioxide (SO2).  Air quality designations were published by EPA in 2013 for areas where SO2 monitoring sites were established and data was sufficient to determine compliance.  EPA has not yet issued designations for areas where established SO2 monitoring sites are not present.  The EPA proposed the Data Requirements Rule for the 1-Hour Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) on May 13, 2014.  This proposed rule details the requirements for a state to provide data to the EPA so the EPA in turn can make final SO2 NAAQS attainment designations. 

The proposed rule includes an anticipated timeline for the attainment designation process.  The air agency will be required to submit a list of applicable sources located in its jurisdiction to the EPA by January 15, 2016.  For each area containing an applicable source, the air agency shall state whether it will characterize air quality through ambient air quality monitoring or through air quality modeling techniques.  For areas that are characterized using a modeling analysis, it is expected that modeling will be completed and submitted to the EPA by January 2017, and that final designations for these areas will be completed by December of 2017.  For areas that elect to characterize air quality through ambient monitoring, the monitors are to be operational by January 2017.  Three years of data will be collected, with the EPA issuing final designations by December of 2020.  State attainment plans will be due in August of 2022.  A final rule is expected later this year.  The Agency, along with the North Carolina Division of Air Quality, will establish any enforceable emission limits as necessary per the process outlined above.  No modeling analysis is required for the 1-hour SO2 standard at this time.

For additional information, please contact Betsy Brown, Air Quality Supervisor, at (828) 250-6787 or betsy.brown@buncombecounty.org.