As many as 300 construction workers, mostly from west central and southern Indiana, are building 200-foot structures called selective catalytic reduction systems. The equipment changes mercury into a substance the plants other pollution control equipment can better capture.
The project is the largest investment in Duke Energys Indiana compliance plan for the federally-mandated Mercury and Air Toxics Standard. The equipment will go into service in late 2014 for Unit 1 and mid-2015 for Unit 2.
To date, Duke Energy has allocated $124 million for Indiana-based vendors and contractors. The overall project will cost about $400 million, which includes costs of the two selective catalytic reduction units as well as dry sorbent injection systems for additional mercury removal and sulfur trioxide mitigation.
"It's been an economic boost for Indiana, for both the Hoosier companies doing the construction work as well as the regional businesses providing food, lodging, gas and other services to the construction workers," said Cayuga Plant Manager Michael Wertz. "When a project like this happens, there's a ripple effect throughout the regional economy."
The equipment also prepares the company for anticipated tougher, future federal requirements limiting nitrogen oxide, a contributor to ozone, and fine particulates. The selective catalytic reduction structures act like the catalytic converters in cars to reduce smog-forming nitrogen oxide emissions. The equipment can remove about 6,000 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions annually, the equivalent of taking roughly 316,000 cars off the road.
"The vast majority of our state's electric power is fueled by coal, but tightening federal environmental regulations mean we must find cleaner ways of using it," said Duke Energy Indiana President Doug Esamann. "This investment allows us to continue using an abundant local resource at Cayuga."
In 2008, the company invested approximately $500 million for two scrubbers to control sulfur dioxide emissions at Cayuga.
Statewide, Duke Energy has invested approximately $2.8 billion since 1990 in federally mandated pollution control measures.
As a result, the company's Indiana emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, particulates and other pollutants have decreased dramatically, even as customer demands and power generation have increased.
Since 1990, sulfur dioxide emissions have decreased by more than 84 percent and nitrogen oxide by more than 73 percent through the installation of pollution control equipment, the use of lower-sulfur fuel, and increased fuel diversity in the company's generation mix. Duke Energy also has achieved significant mercury reductions from these efforts.
More information and a photo of Cayuga power plant is available at this link: https://www.duke-energy.com/power-plants/coal-fired/cayuga.asp. Duke Energy Indiana's operations provide approximately 6,900 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 790,000 customers, making it the state's largest electric supplier.