Power County Advanced Energy Center

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In 2005, Southeast Idaho Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Refined Energy Holdings, proposed a 520 megawatt Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plant at the FMC Superfund site in American Falls, Idaho near Pocatello. [1]

Construction was scheduled to begin in 2007 and be completed by 2010. In July 2007, in documents filed with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the company revised its original plans, intending instead to build a fertilizer and synthetic diesel fuel plant, in a facility that will contain a 60-70 megawatt coal gasification plant; the facility will produce 350,000 gallons of synthetic diesel per day by 2015.[2] According to the Idaho State Journal, the company has purchased 450 acres of land near ConAgra Food’s Lam Weston plant just outside American Falls. On Oct. 14, 2007 the the Idaho State Journal reported that Pocatello Mayor, Roger Chase, spoke out against the plant. [3]

On September 22, 2008 the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality issued the Draft Air Quality Permit. The comment period ends on November 24, 2008.[4]

On February 10, 2009, the Idaho DEQ issued a construction permit to Southeast Idaho Energy.[5] However, in May, 2011 it was announced that Southeast Idaho Energy closed its office in American Falls, site of its proposed plant that is to be designed to make fertilizer through a process called coal gasification[6]

With no developments since 2009, the project appears to be cancelled.

Citizen activism

In February of 2009 the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) signed off on a permit for Southeast Idaho Energy Company to build the Power County Advanced Energy Center that will produce fertilizer through the coal gasification process near the town of American Falls.[7]

The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes teamed up with the Sierra Club and the Idaho Conservation League to oppose the permit, stating they have concerns about potential public health problems on the Fort Hall Reservation which is downwind from the proposed plant. As of September 2009, the facility is still set for development.[8]

Permit granted with limits on global warming emissions

On November 30, 2009, the Idaho DEQ issued a permit for the plant based on negotations between Southeast Idaho Energy, the Sierra Club, the Idaho Conservation League, and the state. The permit requires the new plant to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 58 percent of a comparable facility's current levels. According to Andrea Issod, a Sierra Club attorney,the environmental group decided to endorse the permit because of the company's willingness to fund carbon capture and storage implementation rather than seeking money from the federal government. The deal ensures that environmental groups will not fight the plant's permit and may make it easier for Southeast Idaho to raise money for the plant, which will cost an estimated $1.5 to $2 billion to construct.[9]

This was the first departure by the Sierra Club, who has previously stated that they will oppose all new coal-fired power plants. The plant will utilize the controversial technology known as carbon sequestration to reduce the plant's CO2 footprint.[10] In April 2011 the $1.5 billion coal-gasification plant that is intended to produce nitrogen-based fertilizers was put on hold due to a lack of money, a company official stated. Southeast Idaho Energy, a subsidiary of Refined Energy Holdings, had already obtained an air quality permit from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and a special use permit from Power County to build the plant.[11]

Project Details

Sponsor: Southeast Idaho Energy LLC
Parent: Refined Energy Holdings
Location: Pocatello, ID
Type: Fertilizer and synthetic diesel fuel
Projected in service: 2011-2012
Status: Cancelled (no progress in over four years)



  1. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed December 2007. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  2. Refined Energy Holdings, "Power County Advanced Energy Center", Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, July 2007.
  3. Adam Chambers, "Mayor Opposes Coal Plants," Idaho State Journal, October 14, 2007.
  4. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed November 2008.
  5. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed May 2009. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  6. " Southeast Idaho Energy closes office at American Falls, Idaho State Journal, May 27, 2011.
  7. Mark Mendiola,"Idaho Department of Environmental Quality Gives Green Light in Coal Gasification Plant", Idaho Business Review, February 16, 2009.
  8. Tribes and environmentalists fight Idaho coal plant,, accessed September, 2009.
  9. Rocky Barker, "Idaho sets stringent clean coal' rules for proposed plant," McClatchy Newspapers, November 30, 2009.
  10. Idaho sets stringent clean coal' rules for proposed plant, Rocky Barker, Miami Herald, November 30, 2009.
  11. "Plans to build E. Idaho coal-gasification plant put on hold due to lack of money, company says" Idaho State Journal, April 2, 2011.

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