US MidAmerican Energy to use more natgas following settlement

22 January 2013 19:17  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--US-based MidAmerican Energy is looking into using fuels such as natural gas to produce electricity in Iowa after the power generator reached a settlement on Tuesday with the Sierra Club regarding allegations that the company was violating the Clean Air Act.

As part of a consent decree filed with the US District Court in Iowa, MidAmerican Energy, which is owned by billionaire investor Warren Buffett, has agreed to complete the installation of baghouses on two coal-fired units at its Sergeant Bluff facility in Iowa by 31 December 2014.

MidAmerican Energy announced that by 16 April 2016 it will cease burning coal at two boilers at the Sergeant Bluff facility and at two boilers at its facility in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The company said it is evaluating the use of other fuels such as natural gas to generate the 536 megawatts of power currently produced from those four boilers.

The company also said that by that 2016 date it will cease to burn coal at its Bettendorf, Iowa, facility and will continue to operate it using natural gas.

In July 2012, MidAmerican Energy received a notice of intent to sue from the Sierra Club, alleging violations of certain provisions of the Clean Air Act at its Iowa facilities.

MidAmerican Energy said it “has been and remains in compliance with the law” and entered into settlement discussions as a means to avoid costs to its customers, unnecessary delays and ongoing uncertainty associated with litigation.

Sierra Club representatives lauded the agreement.

“[Tuesday’s] settlement marks an important national milestone to end the scourge of coal, as well as an important milestone in our ongoing discussion with the Warren Buffett family of companies about combating climate disruption,” said Bruce Nilles, senior director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. 

By: Jeremy Pafford
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