EKPC seeks outside options for coal capacity that may be retired

East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) on June 8 issued a request for proposals (RFP) for up to 300 MW of electric-generating resources to possibly replace coal-fired power plants that could be shut down as a result of federal regulations taking effect in 2015.

EKPC noted in a June 8 statement that it faces the prospect of making significant capital investments in emissions-control equipment at Dale station in Clark County, Ky., and Cooper Unit 1 in Pulaski County, Ky., to bring them into compliance with the federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standards in 2015. EKPC’s newer, larger coal-fueled units, including Cooper Unit 2 and the Spurlock plant in Mason County, Ky., have been retrofitted with control equipment in recent years and are well-positioned for compliance.

“This solicitation will provide important information regarding alternatives for EKPC to comply with new federal regulations,” said Tony Campbell, EKPC’s President and CEO. “EKPC’s goal is to comply while continuing to serve its members as reliably and affordably as possible.”

EKPC is seeking resources with an online date of October 2015 and will consider proposals with online dates as late as October 2017, but will evaluate costs associated with the delay past October 2015. EKPC is seeking conventional resources of 50 MW or larger, as well as renewable resources of 5 MW or larger. EKPC intends to submit a self-build option. Proposals are due by Aug. 30. EKPC expects to execute agreements resulting from this solicitation in January 2013. EKPC has retained The Brattle Group as its independent procurement manager to analyze and evaluate proposals.

The RFP noted that EKPC has three sites in its service territory suitable for locating a gas-fired combined cycle combustion turbine facility (CCGT) or a gas-fired single cycle combustion turbine facility. A participant could propose to build at any of these sites under a facility ownership and purchase and sale agreement (PSA) arrangement. EKPC is not accepting a bid for a power purchase agreement (PPA) at any of these sites. For these three sites, EKPC will be responsible for building the fuel pipeline from the nearest natural gas pipeline interconnection to the input point of the generation plant. The three sites have different expected costs for this fuel pipeline connection, which the bidders may wish to consider. EKPC will also secure the air and water permits. EKPC may submit self-build proposals at one or more of its sites.

EKPC’s 2012 integrated resource plan showed a preference for dispatchable and operationally flexible resources, but EKPC said it will evaluate any reasonable and fully described resource that a bidder offers.

This RFP is open to parties who currently own, propose to develop, or have rights to a renewable energy generating facility 5 MW or larger. Preference will be given to renewable projects that are in Kentucky. Bidders may submit multiple proposals to fulfill the resource request. The proposal must be based upon a proven technology.

EKPC is headquartered in Winchester, KY and provides electric power and energy to 16 member distribution cooperatives in 87 Kentucky counties. EKPC’s existing resource portfolio consists of approximately 2,500 MW of coal and gas generating capacity, 15 MW of landfill gas generation, 170 MW of South East Power Administration (SEPA) hydro power, and various power purchase contracts. EKPC has applied for membership in PJM, and expects to be a member during the entire period of any contracts that result from this RFP. In addition to being a member of PJM, EKPC expects to maintain interconnections with the following other utilities/markets: Kentucky Utilities/Louisville Gas and Electric; and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Here is a description of the EKPC coal plants.

Dale – The first plant built by EKPC was William C. Dale, located in Ford, Ky., which is on the Kentucky River in Clark County. All four units at Dale are pulverized coal 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 combustion technology.

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.