Clean sweep at Beckjord – last coal units retired by Sept. 1

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) announced Aug. 28 that it will retire the remaining coal-fired units, 5 and 6, at its W.C. Beckjord Station in New Richmond, Ohio, effective Sept. 1.

Due to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s increasingly stringent regulations on power plant emissions, Duke Energy Ohio three years ago announced its intent to retire coal-fired units 1 through 6 – totaling 862 MW of capacity – by Jan. 1, 2015.

Beckjord Unit 1 was retired in 2012; units 2 and 3 were retired in 2013; and Unit 4 was retired earlier this year. None of the units or operations at Beckjord, including these being retired, were part of the sales agreement for other capacity in the region recently announced with Dynegy (NYSE: DYN).

“I want to thank the Beckjord employees as well as former employees who so diligently served the company and community during the plant’s years of operation,” said Chuck Whitlock, Duke Energy president of Midwest Commercial Generation and vice president of Gas Operations. “As we begin a multiyear process to decommission the plant, I’d like to take this opportunity to reassure the community that Duke Energy will still own and safely manage the site throughout this process.”

“Beckjord Station has been an integral part of the community and the company for more than 60 years,” said Jim Henning, president, Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky. “After the plant is retired, we will continue to deliver safe, reliable and affordable energy to our customers and will remain a strong community partner.”

Four oil-fired combustion turbines on the site, which are capable of producing 244 MW and are primarily used as peakers, are planned to continue operations. Also, certain substation and transmission or distribution electrical equipment will remain on site and in operation.

Retirement of the Beckjord units are subject to approval by regulatory authorities and the grid operator.

Beckjord, located 18 miles upstream of Cincinnati on the Ohio River, was dedicated in 1952, with the first 100-MW unit in commercial operation. Five additional coal-fired units were added by 1969. The four oil-fired combustion turbines were added in the early 1970s.

Duke Energy Ohio owned 100% of the first five generating units at the station, and jointly owns Unit 6 (37.5% ownership) with American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) (12.5%) and Dayton Power and Light (50%).

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.