Site work begins related to Clinch River coal-to-gas conversions

American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) and its Appalachian Power subsidiary are kicking off the coal-to-gas conversion project, approved last December by the Virginia State Corporation Commission, for two units of the Clinch River power plant.

The first aspect of the project will be to build the pipeline extension into the plant site, which involves a pipeline of about 5-7 miles. That is being done by Appalachian Natural Gas. Preliminary routing and flagging is ongoing with actual pipeline construction planned for February to May 2015, said Appalachian Power spokesman John Shepelwich in an April 10 e-mail.

The coal-fired Unit 3, which won’t be converted to gas, will be officially retired in June 2015, he added. Unit 1 is scheduled to begin its conversion outage in September 2015 and return as a gas-fueled unit in December 2015. Unit 2 will start its conversion outage in February 2016 and return as a gas unit in May 2016.

The Clinch River plant is located in Russell County, Va., and consists of three units that have a total nominal net generating capacity of 705 MW. Units 1 and 2 would each have a nominal generating capacity of 242 MW after the conversion. The aging units have lately been used as cycling units and their frequency of usage has declined. The conversion of two units and shutdown of the third are related to new clean-air mandates.

The converted units will allow the plant to provide reliability benefits and potentially offset higher-priced market purchases during peak time periods. The units will also be able to offer certain generation-related ancillary services to transmission providers including synchronized reserves, day-ahead reserves and voltage support.

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.