Date of Award

5-1-2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Environmental Resources & Policy

First Advisor

Secchi, Silvia

Abstract

Coal fired power plants are facing increasing pressure to reduce emissions through newly enacted and proposed environmental regulations. The cost to install control equipment on the smaller units may not be justified based upon the ability to recover the expense through rate increases on limited generation potential. Therefore, market and physical limitations on power plants smaller than approximately 100 megawatts may not justify the expense of installing pollution control equipment for newly enacted regulations. The additional considerations of future regulations that are still being developed, such as Greenhouse Gases and the expense projected to install control equipment, may further reduce the plant's ability to compete in the generation market. It is likely that smaller, well maintained power plants may be required to discontinue operations without the needed pollution control equipment. One option to continue the operation of a well maintained small unit is to replace the fuel source with one that does not require the same level of control equipment as coal. Biomass as a replacement fuel source has lower emissions of Nitrogen Oxides, Sulfur Oxides and Greenhouse Gasses as compared to coal. The substitution of biomass for coal could allow for the continued operation of smaller, well maintained power plants. This dissertation will investigate the locations and opportunities to purchase a variety of sources of biomass to provide a cost effective fuel mix to continue the operation of a well maintained power plant.

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