Hoosier Energy plans to idle Ratts coal plant in mid 2015

Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative indicated at a couple of points in a heavily-redacted integrated resource plan that it plans to shut the coal-fired Ratts power plant.

“The Preferred Plan is not forecast to materially change Hoosier Energy’s wholesale rates to members in the long-term,” said one part of the plan, filed May 2 at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. “The near-term impact to Hoosier Energy’s rates from the reduction in Ratts’ generation levels will be no significant impact in 2012 and 2013 and a reduction of about $.50/MWh in the period from 2014 through 2016.”

The supply-side resources considered in Hoosier Energy’s IRP were produced through a collaborative effort between Hoosier Energy and consultant Burns & McDonnell. “These resources were deemed to be the best options available to potentially enhance or replace the generation traditionally provided by the Ratts units,” said the plan. “Once these resources were identified, they were incorporated, as potential expansion options, into the integrated system modeling that will define the optimal portfolio of supply and demand side alternatives over the IRP horizon.”

Hoosier Energy spokesman Chris Tryba told GenerationHub on May 24 that Ratts is being cycled right now, only running to meet higher demand periods, with plans to idle the plant completely in mid 2015 due to new air regulations.

Hoosier Energy’s existing owned generating resources include two coal-fired plants (Ratts and Merom), three gas-fired plants (Worthington, Lawrence and Holland), and one landfill gas facility (Clark-Floyd).

  • Ratts is a two-unit plant capable of producing about 250 MW.
  • Merom also consists of two units, which have a combined capacity of approximately 1,000 MW.
  • The Worthington plant consists of four combustion turbine units with total capability of 184 MW.
  • The Lawrence plant consists of six combustion turbine units, with Hoosier Energy owning four and Wabash Valley Power Association (WVPA) owning two. The Hoosier Energy-owned Lawrence units are capable of producing a total of 190 MW.
  • In addition to these resources, Hoosier Energy purchased a 50% interest in the Holland facility in 2009. The Holland facility is a 652-MW combined-cycle facility located in Shelby County, Ill., which is jointly owned by Hoosier Energy and WVPA.
  • Clark-Floyd is a 3.5 MW landfill methane gas facility.

Since 2002, Hoosier Energy pointed out that it has made a number of changes to its resource portfolio including:

  • Acquisition of the 174 MW Worthington peaking power plant.
  • Construction of the 172 MW Lawrence peaking power plant, which began commercial operations in May 2005.
  • Negotiation of two long-term power purchases of 100 MW each from Duke Energy Indiana, with an additional 50-MW long-term purchase beginning in 2016.
  • Renegotiation of a long-term sale with WVPA converting a firm power sale to a unit contingent sale.
  • Development and then subsequent expansion of the Clark-Floyd Landfill methane gas facility.
  • Purchase of 25 MW of wind generation from the Story County facility in central Iowa.
  • Acquisition of 50% ownership interest in the Holland combined-cycle generation facility.
  • Purchase of 3.6 MW of generation from Dayton Hydro facility in Dayton, Ill., through a power purchase agreement.

These resource changes have not only reduced Hoosier Energy’s future capacity and energy needs but also diversified Hoosier Energy’s resource mix, the cooperative noted. The addition of the Holland facility has continued this process as it allowed Hoosier Energy to add an intermediate, gas-fired resource. Holland has reduced reliance on market purchases and provides diversity for intermediate and peaking needs. Holland may also serve as a baseload resource if legislation and/or regulations limiting carbon emissions are implemented.”

Hoosier sinks new money into Merom upgrades

Hoosier Energy had announced Feb. 29 that between 2011 and 2015, it is investing about a half-billion dollars in the Merom plant. For the 2012 maintenance project, Unit 2 was due to be taken out of service in early March with completion tentatively scheduled for early May. The outage will include major improvements to the station’s boiler and environmental protection equipment such as electrostatic precipitators, scrubbers, and selective catalytic reduction system.

Planning for the various projects has been underway for months with coordination by Hoosier Energy’s plant, construction, outage and asset management teams. A similar nine-week outage project is scheduled for spring 2013 on Unit 1.

“We’re replacing some major systems that are vital to the successful operation of our generating facility and to further protect the environment,” said Plant Manager Karl Back in the Feb. 29 announcement. “This is a substantial investment that demonstrates Hoosier Energy’s commitment to maintaining reliable and efficient operations here for many years.”

Hoosier Energy is a generation and transmission cooperative with headquarters in Bloomington, Ind. The G&T provides electric power and other services to 18 electric distribution cooperatives, which collectively meet the electricity needs of more than 750,000 residents, businesses, industries and farms.

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.