The NRG Ohio Pipeline Co. LLC unit of NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) was approved Feb. 26 by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to operate a gas pipeline to support the addition of natural gas firing at the Avon Lake power plant.
NRG Ohio Pipeline had asked for authority to operate as an intrastate pipeline company in the state of Ohio. NRG Ohio Pipeline said that one of NRG’s other subsidiaries, NRG Power Midwest LP, owns a 753 MW coal-fired generating facility in Avon Lake, Ohio, and plans to add natural gas as a fuel source for the boilers at the facility.
NRG Ohio Pipeline explained that it intends to provide the pipeline infrastructure to deliver natural gas to the facility, and plans to construct and operate approximately 20 miles of 24-inch to 30-inch high pressure steel pipeline in Lorain County, Ohio.
NRG Ohio Pipeline explained that, at the appropriate time, it plans to file an application with the Ohio Power Siting Board, which is an adjunct of the PUCO, for a certificate to construct and operate the proposed pipeline.
NRG Ohio Pipeline emphasized that, although a limited number of other commercial or manufacturing customers may seek transportation of natural gas through the proposed pipeline, its primary purpose is to serve the Avon Lake facility.
An NRG official indicated in September 2013 testimony filed at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that Avon Lake might retain coal-fired capability even with natural gas added as a fuel. The coal-fired units at the plant were slated for retirement in 2015 by GenOn Energy, a predecessor of NRG, because of their inability to meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations. NRG is now in the process of enabling the coal units to operate on both natural gas and coal, said the September 2013 testimony from Lee Davis, the President of NRG’s East Region.
U.S. Energy Information Administration data shows Avon Lake getting coal in 2013 from the Emerald mine in Pennsylvania of Alpha Natural Resources, the Bailey complex in Pennsylvania of CONSOL Energy, the Hopedale mine in Ohio of Rhino Resource Partners and the Black Thunder mine in Wyoming of Arch Coal.