KCP&L works on emissions projects at coal plants

Kansas City Power & Light is currently making a significant investment in environmental controls at the coal-fired LaCygne plant located near LaCygne, Kan., said KCP&L official Burton Crawford in testimony that the utility filed Feb. 27 at the Missouri Public Service Commission in a new rate case.

Crawford is KCP&L’s Director, Energy Resource Management.

The investments at LaCygne Unit 1 include: a flue gas desulfurization (scrubber) replacement primarily for SO2 control; a pulse jet fabric filter (baghouse) addition for particulate control; and activated carbon injection for mercury control. At LaCygne Unit 2, the projects are: selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system addition for NOx control: scrubber addition primarily for SO2 control; pulse jet fabric filter addition for particulate control; and activated carbon injection for mercury control.

“This equipment is required to meet the Kansas State Implementation Plan for addressing the Clean Air Visibility Rule, also known as BART (best available retrofit technology),” Crawford wrote. “The current estimated cost of these environmental investments is $1.23 billion. The final cost will be split 50/50 between KCP&L and [Westar Energy].”

Also, KCP&L is working on modifications at the coal-fired Montrose plant, located near Clinton, Mo., for compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. Those projects, on Unit 2-3, are: separated over fire air installation for NOx control: burner modifications for NOx control; and a new burner management system.

Compliance with EPA’s newer Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, issued in December 2011, is still being worked out. But it may require installation of baghouses on Montrose units 2-3 and activated carbon injection on all Montrose units, Crawford said. Activated carbon injection may also be needed on Hawthorn Unit 5.

William Blunk, KCP&L’s Supply Planning Manager, also supplied Feb. 27 rate testimony. He generally described the company’s coal and natural gas procurement programs. He noted that the company takes mostly Powder River Basin coal, but does uses bituminous coal from regional mines at LaCygne Unit 1. He also pointed out that during the August 2010-December 2011, prices for 8,800 Btu/lb PRB coal has fluctuated between $0.69/mmBtu and $0.88/mmBtu.

KCP&L hedges its coal exposure through “laddered” coal contracts that expire at different points in time, Blunk testified. At this point, KCP&L has over 95% of its 2012 PRB coal needs committed, and about 75% of its PRB coal needs in 2014. Eessentially all bituminous coal needs at committed through 2013.

KCP&L owns 50% of each of the two units and the common facilities at LaCygne. Westar Energy (NYSE:WR), through its Kansas Gas and Electric subsidiary, holds an equal share through ownership or sale/leaseback arrangements. KCP&L is the operator of both units.

LaCygne Unit 1 is a once through supercritical cyclone coal-fired boiler rated at 816MW gross/735 MW net. LaCygne Unit 2 is a pulverized coal-fired boiler rated at 717MW gross/686MW net. La Cygne Unit 1 was placed in commercial operation in 1973 and Unit 2 was placed in commercial operation in 1977. Since the addition of the coal-fired Iatan Unit 2, which went online in 2010, La Cygne represents approximately 26% of KCP&L’s entire coal fleet based on MWh of generation.KCP&L has committed with Kansas regulators to install  emission control technologies to reduce emissions of fine particulates (PM2.5), SO2, and NOx from LaCygne no later than June 1, 2015, testified Terry Bassham.

Bassham is President and COO of Great Plains Energy (NYSE:GXP), the holding company of KCP&L. Bassham is also the President and COO of KCP&L and KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Co. (GMO).

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.