Duke permits end of coal at Crystal River Units 1 and 2

Duke Energy Florida is seeking a revision to the Title V air permit for its Crystal River power plant that officially says that the coal-fired Units 1 and 2 will be permanently shut as coal-fired facilities by the end of 2020.

The application to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, written by consultant Golder Associates, was filed on Dec. 31, 2013.

This Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) subsidiary has been under a regional haze-compliance option deal that allows either the installation of costly flue gas desulfurization (FGD) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems on the aging Units 1 and 2 for SO2 and NOx control, or the end of coal firing at those units by the end of 2020. The application to the DEP asks that the second option now be included in the Title V permit.

The capacities of these facilities, also known as Crystal River South, are: Unit 1 (440.5 MW) and Unit 2 (523.8 MW). The newer, larger Crystal River Units 4 and 5 have gotten fairly recently emissions retrofits and are not part of the shutdown situation. Unit 3 is a shut and about-to-be-retired nuclear facility.

Duke Energy Florida also applied Dec. 31 at the Florida Public Service Commission for approval of costs for temporary emissions control equipment to comply with air emissions mandates at Crystal River Units 1 and 2. In addition to Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) requirements, Crystal River Units 1 and 3 (CR 1 and 2) are subject to Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) and Reasonable Further Progress (known as “Beyond BART”) requirements under the Clean Air Visibility Rule (CAVR). In order to address Beyond BART requirements which are scheduled to take effect in 2018, a revised State Implementation Plan (SIP) further requires Duke Energy Florida to install FGD and SCR on CR 1 and 2 by 2018 or cease burning coal in the units on or before the end of 2020. EPA approved the revised SIP in August 2013.

The utility noted that it has decided not to install the FGD and SCR, at a cost of over $1bn, on these older coal units, opting instead to shut them around 2020. “Based on the results of those evaluations and tests of alternate coals at CR 1 and 2, DEF has determined that use of alternate coals with installation of less expensive pollution controls, at a total project cost of approximately $28 million, would provide a cost-effective means for DEF to continue operating CR 1 and 2 in compliance with MATS (and CAVR) requirements for a limited time until replacement generation can be constructed,” said the Dec. 31 filing with the PSC. “The new pollution controls include dry sorbent injection (‘DSI’) for control of acid gas emissions, activated carbon injection (‘ACI’) for control of mercury emissions, and changes to the electrostatic precipitators (‘ESPs’) for control of particulate emissions. The planned DSI and ACI systems will be relatively small to meet the emission reduction levels envisioned, and will be set up to operate intermittently or continuously, depending on the needs of the facility. In addition to the above project costs, DEF expects to incur annual O&M costs of approximately $2 million while the new pollution controls remain in operation.”

Crystal River Units 1 and 2 have traditionally fired Central Appalachia coal. U.S. Energy Information Administration data shows that the plant got its coal in 2013 from various suppliers, including B&W ResourcesArch Coal SalesJames River Coal and Alpha Natural Resources. Test blends of coal in 2013 at these units, designed to find ways to get emissions reductions beyond the planned DSI/ACI installations, were of western bituminous and Powder River Basin coals. Units 4 and 5, which have SO2 scrubbers, burn high-sulfur coals from the Illinois Basin.

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.