Missouri PSC approves Ameren’s refined coal plan at Labadie

The staff of the Missouri Public Service Commission recommended approval of a Nov. 19 application from Ameren Missouri to sell coal at its Labadie power plant to another party, then buy back that coal after it has been treated with chemicals to reduce emissions when the coal is burned.

Ameren wants to sell coal and lease a portion of its property located at its Labadie Energy Center to Larkwood Energy LLC. It requested that the commission act on the application expeditiously, by no later than Jan. 1, 2014.

In its Dec. 11 recommendation, PSC staff said that subject to certain conditions, Ameren Missouri should be authorized to sell coal to Larkwood Energy and lease site space at Labadie so that Larkwood can refine the coal before Ameren Missouri burns it to reduce NOX, SO2 or mercury emissions.

Ameren Missouri and its customers will benefit by an anticipated reduction in NOX, SO2 or mercury emissions as well as the payments Larkwood will make and, therefore, the proposed sales and lease are not detrimental to the public interest, staff said.

Larkwood Energy will be using the same Chem-Mod process that Bluffington Partners LLC is using at Ameren Missouri’s Rush Island plant, under a prior commission approval.

The sales at Labadie would commence soon after the PSC approves this application and will continue until Sept. 13, 2021, which is the date that federal refined coal tax credits end. Larkwood will refine the coal using a proprietary process (Chem-Mod) designed to reduce emissions from the coal, and then resell the coal back to Ameren Missouri at the same price for use at the plant.

A somewhat similar process proposed at the Sioux plant location is known as Cyclean. The difference between Chem-Mod and Cyclean is due to the fact that the Sioux plant operates utilizing a cyclone boiler design, whereas the Rush Island and Labadie plants operate utilizing similar pulverized coal boiler designs.

The commission, in a Dec. 18 order approving the Labadie application, wrote: “The absence of opposition, the expected reduction of pollutants, and the tax credits that Ameren Missouri will receive support the expedited treatment that the applicant seeks. Those factors also constitute good cause for the Commission to make this order effective in less than 30 days. Therefore, the Commission will grant the application with the conditions proposed in Staff’s recommendation, and will grant the motion for expedited treatment.”

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.