In a move that was no surprise, American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) on Jan. 21 asked PJM Interconnection for a June 1, 2015, deactivation date for the 800-MW, coal-fired Unit 2 at the Big Sandy power plant in eastern Kentucky.
A PJM list of pending deactivation requests, updated to Jan. 22, said that this AEP request has triggered a grid reliability analysis process. The list, by the way, doesn’t show any pending request for Big Sandy Unit 1. Big Sandy Unit 1 is a 260-MW coal unit that would be either shut or preferrably refueled to 278 MW of natural gas-fired capacity.
The key components of Kentucky Power’s 2013 integrated resource plan (IRP), filed Dec. 23, 2013, at the Kentucky Public Service Commission, include the acquisition of 50% of the coal-fired Mitchell plant in West Virginia. The PSC approved the Mitchell buy earlier in 2013 as a replacement for a similar amount of capacity at Big Sandy Unit 2.
The major elements of the IRP are:
- Transfer a 50% undivided ownership interest of the Mitchell Plant (780 MW) from affiliate Ohio Power Co. (OPCo) to Kentucky Power, to replace the 800-MW Big Sandy Unit 2 which is scheduled to retire in 2015;
- Convert Big Sandy Unit 1 (278 MW) to burn natural gas instead of coal;
- Continue to purchase 393 MW of power from the Rockport coal units in Indiana;
- Make increased investment in demand-side management; and
- Purchase the output of the 58.5-MW ecoPower Hazard LLC biomass plant starting in 2017.
Kentucky Power on Dec. 6, 2013, applied at the Kentucky PSC for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to convert Unit 1 at the Big Sandy plant from a coal-fired unit to a natural gas-fired facility. The application, which is still pending, seeks about $50m in conversion costs.