In hindsight, the $1 billion Petra Nova project seemed like a win-win: Create the world’s largest carbon capture facility next to one of the biggest power plants in Texas operating four coal-fired and four gas-powered units. Capture more than 90% of carbon dioxide from emissions produced in just one coal-fired unit. Pipeline the captured CO2 80 miles to an oilfield and boost production from 300 BPD to 4,000 BPD. What could possibly go wrong? Unfortunately for Houston-based NRG Energy, practically everything. After little more than three years, Petra Nova has been sunsetted indefinitely. When the plant worked, according to supporters, it worked as it was designed. But soon, mechanical problems and outages left it operational only one day in three. In the first few months this year, Petra Nova was operating at little more than 45.9% of capacity. Worse, the pandemic helped tank oil prices, demand, and crude oil output. Huge financial losses quickly followed. Petra Nova now has quietly suspended operations at the W.A. Parish Generating Station and lives to see another day when economic conditions improve
NRG Energy, Inc. is a large American energy company, dual-headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey and Houston, Texas. It was formerly the wholesale arm of Northern States Power Company, which became Xcel Energy, but became independent in 2000. NRG Energy is involved in energy generation and retail electricity.