MidAmerican reports progress on Neal scrubber/baghouse projects

MidAmerican Energy Co. told the Iowa Utilities Board in a Feb. 15 filing that it is making progress on adding new emissions controls to two units at its coal-fired Neal power plant.

The costs for the projects were redacted from the filing.

One of the projects is the Neal Energy Center 3 (NEC 3) scrubber and baghouse project. A contract with the Neal Station Environmental Partners (NSEP) was executed in May 2011. NSEP is a joint venture between Kiewit Power Constructors and Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co. which utilizes Alstom’s pollution control technology. The major construction efforts for this project are currently underway. The equipment is planned to be tied in to the existing plant during a scheduled outage in the spring of 2014.

There is also the Neal Energy Center 4 (NEC 4) scrubber and baghouse project. A contract with NSEP was executed in May 2011. The major construction efforts for this project are currently underway. The equipment is planned to be tied in to the existing plant during a scheduled outage in the fall of 2013.

The Feb. 15 filing didn’t give capacity figures for these two units. An April 2010 filing by the company in this same case gave the capacity of NEC 3 as 515 MW (net) and NEC 4 as 644 MW (net). In its February 2011 Form 10-K filing, MidAmerican said NEC 3 had 519 MW (net) of capacity, with 374 MW owned by MidAmerican; and NEC 4 had 645 MW (net), with MidAmerican owning 262 MW.

In the category of continuing projects from 2010 is the Walter Scott Unit 3 (WS 3) scrubber and baghouse project. A contract with the Council Bluffs Environmental Partners (CBEP) was executed in November 2006. CBEP is a joint venture between Kiewit Industrial Co. and Burns & McDonnell Engineering which utilizes Alstom’s pollution control technology. The major construction efforts for this project are complete, and the equipment was tied in to the existing plant during the scheduled outage in May 2009, said the Feb. 15 update. Tuning and performance testing efforts were completed in 2009, and the WS 3 SO2 emissions have been reduced up to 85%.

There is also the Louisa (LGS) scrubber and baghouse project. A contract with the Louisa Environmental Project Partners (LEPP) was executed in December 2005, the Feb. 15 update said. LEPP is a joint venture between Kiewit Energy Co. and Burns & McDonnell Engineering which utilizes Alstom’s pollution control technology. The major construction efforts for this project are complete, and the equipment was tied in to the existing plant during the scheduled outage in November-December 2007. Tuning and performance testing efforts were completed in 2008, and Louisa’s SO2 emissions have been reduced up to 85% while burning Powder River Basin coal. The design of the system also affords Louisa the flexibility to burn eastern bituminous coals and still maintain permit compliance, MidAmerican noted.

MidAmerican said it does not have any additional information at this time concerning Interstate Power and Light (IPL) plans or expected 2012 costs for projects at the Ottumwa power plant.

Alliant Energy (NYSE:LNT), the parent of IPL, said on its website that the utility plans to install a baghouse and scrubber system at Ottumwa Unit 1. Unit 1 will also have additional upgrades done that will improve operating efficiency and lead to reduced fuel costs for customers. Construction is expected to begin in early 2012 and commercial operation is expected by mid-2014 to comply with the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.

MidAmerican’s February 2011 Form 10-K filing gave Ottumwa’s net capacity as 717 MW, with MidAmerican owning 373 MW of it.

MidAmerican said in a November 2011 Form 10-Q filing at the SEC: “In May 2011, MidAmerican Energy signed contracts totaling $427 million for the construction of emissions control equipment at two of its jointly owned generating facilities to address air quality requirements. These contracts resulted in purchase obligations for the years ending December 31 of approximately $143 million in 2012, $194 million in 2013 and $90 million in 2014. As a joint owner of the generating facilities, MidAmerican Energy’s share is $238 million.”

The MidAmerican Form 10-K said all of the coal-fired facilities it operates are fueled by low-sulfur coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming. MidAmerican added that it has a long-haul coal transportation agreement with Union Pacific Railroad that expires in 2012. Under this agreement, Union Pacific delivers coal directly to the Neal and Walter Scott plants and to an interchange point with Canadian Pacific Railway for short-haul delivery to the Louisa and Riverside plants. MidAmerican said it has the ability to use BNSF Railway, an affiliate company, for delivery of coal to Walter Scott, Louisa and Riverside should the need arise.

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.