FERC issues enviro review of Columbia Gas pipeline project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Jan. 27 released an environmental assessment on a Columbia Gas Transmission LLC request for authorization to construct its Lawrence County Expansion Project in Wayne County, West Virginia, and Lawrence County, Kentucky.

The project would provide natural gas to Unit 1 of Kentucky Power‘s Big Sandy power plant, which would be converted from coal to natural gas. The 800-MW Unit 2 at Big Sandy is to be shut this year for clean-air reasons.

The Columbia Gas project involves the construction of: about 3 miles of 16-inch-diameter pipeline, including one horizontal directional drill under the Big Sandy River; one hot tap at the existing tie-in location; a regulation station (Line P regulation); and installation of one heater at the existing Kenova Compressor Station. Columbia would provide 72,000 dekatherms of gas per day to its customers.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission in August 2014 approved an application from Kentucky Power for the Unit 1 conversion. The 800-MW coal-fired Unit 2 at Big Sandy is to be shut for the same reason, by June of this year, eventually leaving no coal-fired capacity left at this plant site in eastern Kentucky. Unit 1 would go from a 278-MW unit on coal to a 268-MW generator on natural gas.

The PSC had previously approved Kentucky Power’s acquisition of half of the Mitchell coal plant in West Virginia to make up for the mid-2015 retirement of Big Sandy Unit 2. Kentucky Power is a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP).

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.