Kentucky Utilities reports coal burn, procurement data

Kentucky Utilities bought 4 million tons of coal in the November 2012-April 2013 period, with the Ghent plant providing the bulk of that burn at a little over 3.2 million tons.

That is according to the latest version of a twice-yearly report that KU filed Aug. 29 at the Kentucky Public Service Commission.

The coal burn for each plant during the six-month period, with capacity factors, were:

  • E W Brown, 665,824 tons, 45.3% capacity factor;
  • Ghent, 3,221,875 tons, 80.1%;
  • Green River, 209,156 tons, 57.3%;
  • Tyrone, zero, zero (Tyrone 3 was on inactive reserve until Feb. 1 when it was retired);
  • Trimble County HS (meaning high sulfur), not applicable in both cases;
  • Trimble County PRB (Powder River Basin), not applicable in both cases;
  • Trimble County 2, 411,923 tons, 27.8%.

Any reasonably well maintained coal plant with strong power demand should be able to hit a capacity factor of at least 80%, so Ghent was the only LG&E plant that ran at around its potential during the period. Note that Trimble County values reflect 100% of the unit. Trimble County 2 is owned by Kentucky Utilities (60.75%), sister utility Louisville Gas and Electric (14.25%), IMPA (12.88%), and IMEA (12.12%).

Major coal suppliers in the November 2012-April 2013 period, by contract, included:

  • Alliance Coal LLC, 283,356 tons;
  • Armstrong Coal, 731,486;
  • Armstrong Coal, 468,702 tons;
  • Patriot Coal, 429,267 tons;
  • Peabody Coalsales LLC, 634,206 tons; and
  • Triad Mining, 311,252 tons.

Listed in the filing are all of KU’s term contracts in effect during the review period. Under some of these deals, LG&E shares coal with KU. Most of the contracts were signed two or three years ago and have two or three years left to run.

A newer contract was executed on Feb. 1 of this year with Patriot Coal Sales LLC for coal out of the Highland operation in Union County, Ky. It calls for 300,000 tons this year (at a base price of $41.90/ton), 600,000 tons in 2014 ($47/ton base) and 300,000 tons in 2015 ($49.75/ton base).

Another new-ish contract was executed in December 2012 with Western Kentucky Minerals and Sun Energy Group. It covers the January 2013-December period, is for coal out of mines in western Kentucky and Indiana, and calls for 90,000 tons (at a base price of $53.19/ton) in 2013, and 150,000 tons in 2014 (base price of $55.45/ton).

As of April 30, the coal inventories by plant stood at:

  • E W Brown, 149,527 tons or 23 days, the plant’s target is 23-48 days;
  • Ghent, 714,347 tons or 34 days, target is 21-39 days;
  • Green River, 101,742 tons or 48 days, target is 37-69 days;
  • Trimble County, 341,806 tons or 47 days, target is 22-45 days; and
  • Total, 1,307,422 tons or 36 days, target is 22-44 days.

The Trimble County coal inventory includes both PRB and High Sulfur coals used for Trimble County Unit 2. Tyrone Station was retired on Feb. 1 and any remaining coal on-site was transferred to E. W. Brown, with the transfer completed on April 19.

Mike Dotson, the veteran fuels manager for both LG&E and KU, who prepared much of the report, also outlined recent changes in the Fuels Department:

  • Effective Feb. 22, Justin Thompson left the department as Mining Engineer for a position outside the company.
  • Effective May 13, Tim Smith joined the department as Manager Fuels Technical Services.
  • Effective May 13, Tom Axtell, Lead Engineer, moved from being a direct report to Delbert Billiter, Manager Fuels Risk Management, to being a direct report to Tim Smith, Manager Fuels Technical Services.
  • Effective May 13, Kenny Tapp, Senior By Products and Industrial Coordinator, moved from being a direct report to Caryl Pfeiffer, Director Corporate Fuels and By-Products to being a direct report to Tim Smith, Manager Fuels Technical Services.
  • Effective May 6, 2013–August 16, 2013, William Walker was employed as an Engineer Co-op/Intern III reporting to Tim Smith.
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.