At the request of Energy Northwest, Washington’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council formally terminated the public utility’s previous request to build a large new power plant at the Port of Kalama, near Longview in southwest Washington.
The utility’s plans originally called for an integrated gasification combined-cycle plant, in which coal is converted to a gas that turns a turbine. The technology was said to be far cleaner than just burning coal, though untested carbon-sequestration technology would be required to mitigate greenhouse gas impacts.
Citing the site evaluation council’s demands for demonstrable carbon-sequestration technology, Energy Northwest in early 2008 said it would pursue a natural gas power plant instead.
This month, the utility said it would terminate its efforts, saying, “Financial and economic conditions do not support a project of this size.”
The original coal gasification plant was projected to cost about $1 billion, which was to have been financed largely with revenue bonds.
It would have been the largest stand-alone financing for the power agency, formerly known as the Washington Public Power Supply System, since its notorious 1983 default on $2.25 billion of revenue bonds issued for two never-finished nuclear plants.
The utility has billions of dollars of outstanding debt, but most of it is backed by the credit of the federal Bonneville Power Administration.