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  • Pima DEQ issues revised Air Quality Permit for TEP

    Aug 08, 2018 | Read More News
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    After strengthening the previously released draft permit based on input from the community and other agencies, the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) has issued a Prevention of Significant Deterioration Air Quality Permit to Tucson Electric Power (TEP) Irvington/H.Wilson Sundt Generating Station.  Air Quality Permit #1052 will allow TEP to replace two 1950’s era units with 10 natural gas fired reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE) that will have a generating capacity of nearly 19 megawatts each.
    UniSource building 
    Staff met regularly with the consultants, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Park Service, TEP and others to gather information and review the results of modeling data that was necessary to determine the impact of the potential change in emissions. The new permit will allow increases in some air pollutants. In accordance with the Clean Air Act, emission increases are allowed provided the increases do not cause a violation of the health-based air quality standards and best available control technology is installed to control the emissions.
    With this new permit, TEP will be able to update its facility to meet peak load needs; to satisfy future customer demands; and to manage the fluctuations that occur from energy generated by solar and wind resources. “The air quality permitting regulations that PDEQ is required to follow do not extend to TEP’s business decisions regarding how to meet the community’s future energy needs,” said Ursula Nelson, PDEQ Director. “This permit limits the amount of air pollution emitted by TEP as much as PDEQ legally can, according to the Clean Air Act requirements,” said Nelson.
    PDEQ held an Open House and two Public Hearings earlier in the year to inform the community about the revised air quality permit and collect comments from the public. PDEQ reviewed all the comments received and made improvements to the proposed permit to make it more protective of public health.
    The issuance of the permit begins a 30-day period when anyone who submitted a comment during the official public comment period may appeal the PDEQ permit decision to the EPA Environmental Appeals Board (EAB). If an appeal is filed with the EPA, that will stay the TEP permit until the EAB makes a ruling. The EAB may uphold the permit, modify the permit, or remand it back to PDEQ and EPA to add additional provisions.
    All documents pertaining to the permit can be found on PDEQ's website.