Proposed C4GT 1,100-MW natural gas-fired power plant for Charles City County, VA

Developer Abandons Charles City Virginia Gas-Fired Power Project

From an Article by Darrell Proctor, Power Magazine, July 12, 2021

A Michigan-based energy company NOVI Energy that planned to build a 1.1-GW gas-fired power plant in Virginia has pulled the plug on the project.

NOVI on July 9 said it would abandon development of the C4GT plant in Charles City County, which is southeast of Richmond. The project, one of two gas-fired plants planned for the area, faced local opposition, and already had been plagued by delays.

The developers also were involved in a dispute with Virginia Natural Gas (VNG), which serves customers in southeastern Virginia, about supplying the plant’s feedstock. VNG earlier this year sued C4GT’s developers for allegedly breaking the terms of a supply agreement.

A statement issued last week by a group representing the developer said, “NOVI Energy cares deeply about the communities it serves and the affordable, reliable power facilities it helps build. After taking feedback from the community and assessing the changing market, NOVI Energy has decided not to pursue the C4GT power plant.”

Local officials in Charles City County earlier this year had voted to begin the process of reclaiming land on the proposed site of the plant. Environmental advocates and local residents in May held a virtual meeting and called on state officials to stop the project.

U.S. Rep. Don McEachin, a Democrat from Richmond who represents the area in Congress, in a statement Friday said, “Construction of a new natural gas power plant in Charles City County would bring significant environmental, health, and economic implications to the region. This project would have risked endangering the health of residents, particularly members from frontline communities, low-income communities and communities of color, who disproportionately suffer the health effects of harmful, toxic pollution.”

This Project Began Five Yeats Ago in 2016

NOVI Energy formed C4GT, LLC, in 2016 with the purpose of developing a gas-fired power plant in Charles City County, at a site near Roxbury Industrial Park. The plant’s construction was approved by Virginia regulators in 2017, but financing problems — along with opposition from local groups and environmentalists — quickly created challenges for the project.

NOVI in 2019 said the project would use two General Electric (GE) 7HA.02 turbines, along with GE heat recovery steam generators and other balance of plant equipment. The project’s developers and VNG created a supply agreement in October 2019, and the gas company planned infrastructure to accommodate the plant through what it called the Header Improvement Project. VNG filed its expansion plan with state regulators in December of that year.

The supply contract called for C4GT to finalize debt financing agreements to pay for the project’s development and construction by June 30, 2020. VNG in its lawsuit earlier this year said the agreement included safeguards for the utility in case the project was not found to be “creditworthy,” with C4GT asked to supply financing details and allow for $3 million in “credit support.”

The developers prior to the June 2020 date asked VNG to move the deadline to December 2020, as the project was still struggling to obtain financing. VNG President Robert Duvall in September of that year wrote a letter to the developers, saying his group had “serious doubts as to the financial viability of C4GT’s project.” State regulators ultimately rejected VNG’s plan for the infrastructure expansion because the plant’s developers had not secured financing.

VNG in its lawsuit said it canceled the supply agreement because the project’s developers did not meet their obligations and did not prove the plant’s financial viability; the suit asked for $2.1 million in reimbursement to the utility for its costs.

Second Gas-Fired Plant Proposed For Charles City County

The second gas-fired plant planned for the area is the Chickahominy Power Station, a 1.65-GW facility in the same Charles City County. Chickahominy Power is a subsidiary of Balico, a Herndon, Virginia-based energy project development group. The Chickahominy Power Station is named to honor the Chickahominy Nation, an indigenous people that has populated areas of east-central Virginia near Richmond for centuries.

Gemma Power Systems is the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor for the project. The developers last year said the project would feature three Mitsubishi Power M501 JAC power trains in single-shaft configuration.

Chickahominy Pipeline, a company registered with Virginia’s State Corporation Commission with the same address and registered agent as Chickahominy Power, recently sent a letter to residents requesting permission for site surveys associated with a gas pipeline project through five central and eastern Virginia counties. Balico has not confirmed that the pipeline would be used to supply the Chickahominy plant.

Rick DelaHaya, a spokesperson for VNG, in an email to the Virginia Mercury news group said the utility has not discussed a pipeline with Chickahominy or Encompass Energy, an energy services company also named in the letter to property owners.



Carbon Capture Investments are a harmful distraction

Some 500 organizations in Canada & U.S. urge feds to stop investing in carbon capture technology

From an Article by Cloe Logan, National Observer (Canada), July 20, 2021

Investment in carbon capture technology will hinder Canada’s transition away from fossil fuels and exacerbate the effects of climate change, says a new letter co-signed by hundreds of organizations.

Over 500 environmental groups and other organizations from Canada and the U.S. put the piece together, which ran as a full-page ad in the Washington Post and Ottawa’s Hill Times. This article expresses their concern with government investment in carbon capture and the green guise associated with it.

Carbon capture, which stores emissions from coal and gas production as well as plastics manufacturing, transports CO2 to other locations, where it’s either stored underground or used for “industrial processes,” according to the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), one of the signatories on the letter.

The groups say most carbon capture helps the fossil fuel industry — the letter explains that almost 80 per cent of carbon capture funds more oil extraction.

Some experts have said the technology is better than nothing, but many share the same concerns as environmental groups. Proponents of carbon capture and storage argue it is crucial for helping heavy industry decarbonize, but critics say most carbon capture actually helps the fossil fuel industry by prolonging the use of oil and gas.

In Budget 2021, the federal government outlined a new tax credit for carbon capture-based projects, which will be available come 2022. The budget outlined a total of $319 million to be spent over seven years on “research, development, and demonstrations” of carbon-capture technology.

Just earlier this month, Ottawa put forward $25 million for a carbon capture project in British Columbia, which it says will capture 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per day. The CEO of Svante Inc, the Burnaby company behind the project, called Vancouver the “Silicon Valley of carbon-capture technology development.”

Provinces are also active in carbon capture funds: British Columbia has a program that allows companies to sell carbon offsets to the province, the government of Saskatchewan partnered with the federal government to help fund the Boundary Dam’s coal carbon-capture project, and the province of Alberta has also put money towards CO2 projects, such as the $745 million it put towards the Shell Quest Carbon Capture and Storage Project.

The U.S. government has a similar tax credit, legislation passed in 2008, which gives money to companies who capture carbon. Gas giant Exxon currently has one of the world’s largest carbon capture plants in Wyoming, for which it’s set to receive $70 million in subsidies if the project goes according to plan — money that will likely go into funding more oil and gas extraction.

However, fixing fossil fuels isn’t possible, says Julia Levin, senior climate and energy program manager for Environmental Defence, one of the organizations that co-signed the letter. She calls carbon capture a “Trojan horse” that oil and gas companies can use to continue fossil fuel production, an opportunity to expand the industry that created the climate emergency.

“The government of Canada should not use any kind of financial support or tax incentive to prop up false climate solutions that only serve to delay the necessary transition off of fossil fuels,” she said.

Investment in carbon capture technology will hinder Canada’s transition away from fossil fuels, says a new letter co-signed by hundreds of organizations. “Instead, we should be focused on real climate solutions including renewable energy and energy efficiency that are job-creating, safe, affordable and ready to be deployed.”

Not only does funding toward the technology hurt the environment, it affects the possibility of a just transition for fossil fuel workers and perpetuates health and environmental risks that disproportionately affect Black, Brown and Indigenous communities, says the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), a U.S.-based organization that also co-signed the letter.

“Oil, coal and gas will use these funds to build out more pipelines and concentrate fossil fuel pollution on already impacted Indigenous nations and environmental justice communities,” said Tom Goldtooth, executive director of IEN.

“Billions of dollars for carbon capture essentially redirects money away from renewable energy like solar and wind. We do not have time and money to waste on more questionable carbon capture infrastructure.”


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Pennsylvania Takes a Step Closer to Joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

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Penna. Board Approves RGGI Rule, Moving A Step Closer To Joining Carbon Emissions Program From an Article by Rachel McDevitt, StateImpact Penna. (WESA), July 13, 2021 The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a cap-and-trade program intended to cut carbon emissions from the power sector. Pennsylvania is set to become the first major fossil fuel-producing [...]

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