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Judge's consent decree allows Healy Clean Coal Plant to move forward

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Posted: Monday, November 19, 2012 11:22 pm | Updated: 12:10 pm, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — A federal judge has approved an agreement between Golden Valley Electric Association, the state of Alaska and federal regulators regarding the proposed restart of the Healy Clean Coal Plant.

GVEA, in a news release, said U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline approved the agreement, known as a consent decree, on Monday.

“This is a significant milestone in restarting HCCP,” GVEA interim President and CEO Cory Borgeson said in the news release. “We are excited to be finally moving forward in getting the Healy Clean Coal Plant online in order to be able to provide Interior Alaskans with a reliable long-term lower cost power supply.”

Beistline signed the agreement at the end of a 30-day comment period in which no objections were raised. The agreement is with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, which owns the plant, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and involves air quality permitting.

GVEA, which will pay $50 million to buy the plant from the state, agreed to install about $40 million of pollution controls at the plant and to accelerate by two years the installation of $5 million in pollution controls at the adjacent Healy No. 1 power plant. It will also spend an additional estimated $20 million to get the plant running.

“Our goal is to have HCCP online and producing electricity before our contract with Chugach Electric for natural gas-fired electricity over the Northern Intertie expires in March 2015,” Borgeson said.

The $300 million plant, built with substantial federal investment, operated sporadically in the late 1990s and closed in 2000 after a spotty record of reliability and safety concerns.

Borgeson said previously that spending millions to get the plant running again makes economic sense now because of the high cost of oil needed to run the utility’s power plants.

Contact managing editor Rod Boyce at 459-7585. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMeditor.

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