The Ohio Power Siting Board on Sept. 30 agreed to extend a construction start deadline for a long-delayed Toledo coke plant and its attached cogeneration plant by one year, until Oct. 28, 2014.
In September 2007, FDS Coke Plant LLC filed an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need to build a cogeneration facility within the same 51-acre site where FDS would build its new non-recovery coke oven plant. The site is located in Toledo in Lucas County.
A coke plant bakes metallurgical coal into coke for the steelmaking process, with the FDS project to be a merchant facility not affiliated directly with any steel producer.
In October 2008, the board authorized the project, subject to a five-year deadline for construction to begin. On Sept. 12, FDS filed a motion to extend the authority granted in the certificate for a period of 12 months. According to FDS, the cogen is a key technical and financial component of the coke plant project. FDS explained the circumstances surrounding the delay of the project, stating that these circumstances were out of its control and that, during the period since the issuance of the certificate, FDS has complied with all of the conditions of the certificate. FDS emphasized that the electricity generated is a large economic benefit to the proposed coke project and, without the expected future power payments from the cogeneration facility, the entire project is not economically feasible.
FDS Coke said the cogeneration plant would be a stable, non-emitting source of about 1 million MWhrs/year of electricity (about a 135 MW capacity) within this “capacity deficient” region around Toledo. It said the project was delayed due to the recession that began in 2008 and an environmental group appeal of its air permit that wasn’t resolved until 2011. It said it is working on an interconnection agreement with PJM Interconnection.
The Lucas County Economic Development Authority wrote a Sept. 11 letter to the board supporting the extension, noting that FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) plans to retire the coal-fired Bay Shore Units 2-4 (about 500 MW of capacity) in the Toledo area, meaning there is a need for new capacity in the region to replace those units. FirstEnergy has said those three Bay Shore units were in a group of coal-fired units in the region that were deactivated in September 2012, pending likely retirement.