East Kentucky Power looks at possible replacement of coal capacity

East Kentucky Power Cooperative plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for power supply resources to address the existing, coal-fired capacity affected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).

EKPC must consider the impacts of the MATS rules on its existing fleet. The Spurlock coal units are modern facilities that can be readily modified to meet all of the new rules, the cooperative noted in an April 20 integrated resource plan (IRP) filed with the Kentucky Public Service Commission. Likewise, Cooper Unit 2 with its recent addition of pollution control equipment can also meet the new rules. The oldest units in the EKPC fleet, the Dale plant and Cooper Unit 1, will require capital intensive retrofits to meet requirements under the MATS rules.

EKPC said it will seek to find the most economic alternative to meet its power supply requirements and the MATS rules. EKPC will need to mitigate the potential risk of losing approximately 300 MW of existing power supply.

EKPC will submit a capital improvement plan for Dale and Cooper Unit 1 as an option in the RFP so that the upgrade alternative can be evaluated with all other options on a comparable basis. EKPC will hire an outside consultant to prepare the RFP, solicit and evaluate proposals. Results are expected to be available by the end of 2012.

The IRP case is in its early stages, with EKPC on May 18 filing with the commission proof that its filing of the plan with the commission was publicized in local newspapers.

EKPC is a generation and transmission electric cooperative located in Winchester, Ky. It serves 16 member distribution cooperatives who serve more than 520,000 retail customers. EKPC owns and operates coal-fired generation at Dale (196 MW), Cooper (341 MW), and Spurlock (1,346 MW) and gas-fired generation at Smith (1,032 MW winter rating) and six landfill sites (16 MW).

EKPC also purchases hydropower from the Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA) on a long-term basis. Laurel Dam (70 MW) has been reliable capacity. However, due to various repair projects, specifically at Wolf Creek Dam, EKPC’s 100 MW allocation from the Cumberland System has not provided dependable capacity for several years and is not expected to be considered dependable until 2015. Once the dam repairs are completed, the capacity should return to firm dependable status.

In total, EKPC owns or purchases 3,101 MW of generation and an additional 400 MW of import capability via firm transmission rights from PJM. EKPC’s all-time peak demand of 3,152 MW occurred on Jan. 16, 2009.

Coal units due for upgrades

Power plant upgrade projects planned over the next three years include:

Cooper – Installation in 2012 of advanced steam turbine packing during the Unit 2 turbine overhaul. This project will cost approximately $1.2m and the new technology in packing design will improve the turbine steam sealing system.

Spurlock – Installation in 2012 of advanced steam turbine packing during the Unit 2 turbine overhaul. This project will cost approximately $1.2m. This packing is a known steam leak location on General Electric turbines, and this installation will minimize steam by-passing a section of the turbine. Forcing the steam not to by-pass will increase the turbine efficiency and lower the heat rate.

Here is a description of the EKPC coal plants.

Dale – The first plant built by EKPC was the William C. Dale, located in Ford, Ky., which is on the Kentucky River in Clark County. All four units at Dale are pulverized coal-fired units. The first two units have a rated capacity of 23 MW each and began commercial operation in 1954. The third unit is capable of producing 75 MW and began operation in October 1957. The fourth unit is also rated at 75 MW and began operation in August 1960.

Cooper – The second plant EKPC built was John Sherman Cooper, located near Somerset on Lake Cumberland. The station has one 116-MW unit that became operational in February 1965, and one 225-MW unit that began operating commercially in October 1969. Both are pulverized coal units. A new pollution control system has recently been added to Cooper 2 and will begin commercial operation by summer 2012.

Spurlock – The most recent coal-fired plant constructed by EKPC is Hugh L. Spurlock, situated near Maysville, Ky., on the Ohio River. The station consists of four units. The first is a 300-MW unit that began commercial operation in September 1977. Unit 2 is a 525-MW unit that began operating in March 1981. Both of these units are pulverized coal units with flue gas desulfurization (FGD) technology. In March 2005, the 268-MW Unit 3 became operational. The fourth unit went operational in April 2009. It is a 278-MW unit. Both Units 3 and 4 use fluidized bed boiler technology.

EKPC pursues small-scale renewables projects

In terms of renewable energy development efforts, the IRP said: “EKPC is currently in discussions with hydro-generation developers, solar developers, and distributed generation developers, and wind data is being collected at one site within the EKPC/Member Distribution Cooperative service territory. EKPC is currently working with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture/Kentucky Grasslands Council on a switchgrass pilot project and continues to utilize the switchgrass produced by this program as an alternative co-firing fuel at one of its coal-fired generation plants. EKPC is currently in discussions with biomass suppliers to evaluate the feasibility of utilizing these renewable fuels as part of a diverse fuel portfolio. EKPC has also helped to fund biomass supply feasibility studies to determine sources of these alternative fuels within the EKPC/Member Distribution Cooperative service territory. EKPC is also working with the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research on an algae project to determine the feasibility of reducing carbon emissions from coal-fired generating facilities.”

There are some, but limited, opportunities with new landfill gas to energy (LFGTE) projects in the EKPC service territory. EKPC currently has six LFGTE facilities and wants to improve performance at each of these facilities while investigating development of other landfills. 2011 generation from the existing EKPC facilities was approximately 95,000 MWh. In the next several years, approximately 600 MWh of energy per year will be supplied from cogeneration and 90,000 MWh of energy per year from LFGTE (self-generated).

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.