Dominion plans State Line coal tests that won’t save plant from shutdown

State Line Energy LLC and Dominion Resources Services Inc., both units of Dominion Resources (NYSE:D), have been approved by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to test SO2 and mercury removal systems on the coal-fired State Line Power plant in Hammond, Ind.

The department said in a Dec. 5 letter sent to the companies that they have been approved for temporary operations of a dual absorbent system on boiler units 3-4 at State Line. The system consists of a liquid MER-Sorb technology for mercury removal and a dry powder S-Sorb system for both SO2 and mercury reduction. The letter noted that the companies planned to test the system for up to 30 days starting from Nov. 25.

The letter said the S-Sorb material will be mixed with the coal feed for the units prior to combustion. In a reference to particulate matter emissions, the letter mentions Powder River Basin coal.

The plant has come under heavy environmental group pressure in recent years due to its proximity to the Chicago metro area and Dominion has announced it plans to retire State Line in March 2012. The Dominion website said that State Line consists of two coal-fired units. Unit 3 began commercial operation in 1955 and produces 197 MW, while Unit 4 began commercial operation in 1962 and produces 318 MW.

Dominion spokesman Dan Genest said Dec. 19 that the absorbent tests were in the works prior to the announcement that State Line would be retired and the decision was subsequently made to do the tests anyway so that the technology supplier could have the test results. This testing doesn’t change the shutdown plans.

On the other hand, Dominion has said it plans to retrofit the 1,158-MW Kincaid plant in Illinois with emissions control equipment, saving that plant from a similar fate as State Line.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.