The Coleman plant of Big Rivers free to be shut as of May 1

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator filed on Feb. 28 at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a request to terminate the System Support Resource (SSR) agreement for the coal-fired, 443-MW Coleman plant of Big Rivers Electric.

The SSR provided for the continued availability of Big River’s Coleman Units 1-3 under MISO’s Open Access Transmission, Energy and Operating Reserve Markets Tariff. In November 2013, MISO submitted the SSR agreement to FERC, which the commission accepted on Dec. 30. The SSR was to extend to Sept 1 of this year.

“MISO has determined that Coleman is not required to serve in an SSR status past the sixty (60) days provided in MISO’s notice of termination, which releases Coleman from SSR designation on May 1, 2014,” said the Feb. 28 filing.

Development of a special protection scheme (SPS) at the nearby power customer, the Century Aluminum smelter means that continued service by Coleman after April 2014 isn’t needed. Big Rivers executed a consent to termination on Feb. 26.

As stated in the filing in November 2013, the SSR status of Coleman was expected to continue until load curtailment arrangements from Century were in place to adequately address possible transmission system overloads. MISO, Century, Big Rivers, and other persons engaged in meetings and conference calls during summer/fall 2013 to develop a plan to allow the industrial load to be curtailed for reliability issues that resulted from the unplanned system conditions. This plan has been further developed and refined, and results in the Feb. 28 filing. Century has designed, and is prepared to implement, a SPS that will allow more flexibility to shed load automatically by employing relay equipment to monitor conditions and trip blocks of plant load to reduce loading on the transmission facilities.

U.S. Energy Information Administration data shows coal suppliers to Coleman last year included: the Onton #9 deep mine in western Kentucky of Alliance Resource Partners; the Highland operation in western Kentucky of Patriot Coal; and the Parkway operation in western Kentucky of Armstrong Coal. Big Rivers on Feb. 28 filed details of its latest coal buying at the Kentucky Public Service Commission.