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Air Quality and Health Impacts from Renovo Energy Center

The Renovo Energy Center would emit air pollution that can harm public health, especially in vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly. If built, the power plant would emit annually over 200 tons of particulate matter (fine soot), over 300 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and over 100 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs that would be emitted by the plant include formaldehyde, which is classified as a probable human carcinogen. NOx and VOCs react with heat in the atmosphere to form ground-level ozone (smog), which can cause and aggravate lung diseases and issues. In addition, the plant would emit nearly 5.5 million tons of greenhouse gases each year, worsening climate change at the very time scientists say we need to rapidly reduce this pollution in the next decade. That’s more climate pollution than is emitted by all sources in the entire city of Pittsburgh combined. Hotter temperatures from climate change result in increased smog levels. Based on DEP’s calculations on the health costs of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide pollution, over the lifetime of the plant, its emissions of those pollutants are estimated to generate societal costs of between $87 and $198 million dollars and cause air pollution at levels expected to kill between 10 and 22 people.

The table below summarizes the types and amounts of pollutants the Renovo Energy Center would be allowed to emit and the potential health impacts of those pollutants.

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Table of air pollutants that would be emitted from the Renovo Energy Center. Information from Renovo Energy Center permit application to DEP.

Table created by Clean Air Council.

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