Perry K plant in Indianapolis to stop burning coal by April 2014

The Perry K plant in downtown Indianapolis will stop burning coal by April 1, 2014, with the plant being 100% natural gas fired from that point with limited No. 2 fuel oil back up.

The plant us owned and operated by the Board of Directors for Utilities of the Department of Public Utilities of the City of Indianapolis, as Successor Trustee of a Public Charitable Trust, d/b/a Citizens Thermal. The company on Nov. 15 filed with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission its latest fuel adjustment case, which contained an update on this coal-to-gas conversion project, which was approved by the commission in August 2012.

Robert Purdue, Director of Thermal Operations for Citizens Energy Group, said in that filing that the No. 12 boiler conversion started on Oct. 1, 2013. The coal delivery equipment and ash removal equipment at the burner level has been demolished and removed from the site. The new gas burners are slightly larger than the old coal burners, so burner tubes had to be modified to compensate for the difference. The tube modifications are complete and the installation of the burners has started.

Structural steel work is complete for a new floor level above the burners. This level will allow access to the individual block and bleed valves for each gas burner, Purdue noted.

The internal plant gas piping installation is 80% complete. The new piping is installed to the No. 12 boiler and final installation for the Nos. 16, 17, and 18 boilers continues. The electrical contractor is installing conduits and pulling cables from the field devices to the main control room for termination. Modifications to the boiler control logic are scheduled to occur the first two weeks of November and the first natural gas fire in the No.12 boiler is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 9. The project is currently progressing on time.

The Perry K plant provides steam for heat and hot water to more than 200 commercial buildings and industries across the downtown area. Perry K’s steam also helps power chilled water facilities which cool more than 60 large facilities.

In 2010, the company entered into a contract with a producer to provide coal over a three-year term, which ends on Dec. 31, 2013. The producer has agreed to extend the current contract until April 1, 2014 at which time the plant will no longer bum coal. The extended agreement freezes the base price per ton at the current rate of $55.17 plus the diesel fuel adjustment and the quantity is up to 30,000 tons for 2014. The petitioner also has extended the transportation agreement with Indiana Rail Road (INRD) and CSX Transportation to April 1, 2014.

Effective Jan. 1, 2011, the coal supplier notified the petitioner that the coal supply for 2011 and beyond would be supplied by Peabody Energy‘s Bear Run mine in Indiana, which is served by INRD.

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.