To meet tightening federal air regulations and to ensure the future of a reliable unit at its coal-fired Cooper Station, East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) is seeking regulatory approval to connect the unit to an existing scrubber at the plant.
In 2012, EKPC added a circulating dry scrubber to Cooper Unit 2 at a cost of about $225m. The scrubber removes SO2 and other emissions from the flue gas from this coal unit. Meanwhile, Cooper Unit 1 continues to face challenges in meeting more-stringent air rules, which could curtail operation of the unit as soon as 2015 if modifications are not made, EKPC said in a July 15 statement.
EKPC proposes to construct ductwork to tie Cooper Unit 1 into Unit 2’s scrubber, which has the capacity to handle the additional emissions. The proposed project is estimated to cost about $15m. EKPC plans to request a certificate of convenience and necessity from the Kentucky Public Service Commission for the project. Cooper Unit 1, which came online in 1965, is a 116-MW coal unit.
“EKPC is proposing what we believe is a very reasonable investment to extend the life of a reliable generating unit,” said Tony Campbell, EKPC’s president and CEO. “We believe this will benefit our cooperative, the Lake Cumberland community and our owner-members and the 520,000 homes and businesses they serve.”
Campbell added: “Ultimately, co-op members bear the costs of any modifications. We owe it to them to ensure that EKPC complies with these new rules while continuing to provide power as reliably and affordably as possible.”
Cooper Unit 1 represents a substantial investment, including the generating unit, as well as transmission and fuel-handling facilities. The plant is fueled primarily by Kentucky coal. U.S. Energy Information Administration data shows that coal suppliers to the plant earlier this year included Jamieson Construction, Mountainside Coal and B&W Resources.
The scrubber tie-in proposal resulted from a June 2012 solicitation issued by EKPC for up to 300 MW of electric-generating resources. In response to that solicitation, EKPC received more than 100 proposals from 65 bidders. EKPC said it is continuing to evaluate the remaining responses for the balance of the requested power.
Cooper is a power plant located on Lake Cumberland in Pulaski County. The station consists of two coal-fired boilers (with No. 2 fuel oil for start-up and stabilization), each supplying steam to a dedicated turbine-generator. Each boiler is a balanced-draft, dry bottom, wall-fired pulverized coal unit. The station has the 116-MW Unit 1 that became operational in 1965, and the 225-MW Unit 2 that began operating commercially in 1969.