Big Rivers Electric plans coal-to-gas switch at 65-MW Reid unit

The Kentucky Division for Air Quality on Feb. 6 went out for comment on a draft air permit change that would allow a switch from coal/petroleum coke as allowed fuels at a unit (65 MW net of capacity) of the Reid-Henderson Station II power plant, to natural gas.

“On September 10, 2013, Big Rivers Electric Corporation (BREC) of Henderson, Kentucky applied to the Kentucky Division for Air Quality (Division) for a significant revision to their current Reid/Henderson Station II Title V Permit,” said a DAQ notice document. “This modification will change the fuel from coal/petroleum coke to natural gas for Reid Unit 01 (Emission Unit 01). The modification will replace the existing coal-fired burners with four (4) new natural gas-fired low NOx burners or equivalent.

“Emission Unit 01 has a maximum continuous rating of 1008 MMBtu/hr,” the division added. “The Unit is wall-fired and currently equipped with the electrostatic precipitator (ESP). The ESP will cease operations after the burner replacement because it will no longer be required to meet the opacity and particulate matter (PM) limits contained in 401 KAR 61:015.”

The source is an electric power generating station consisting of three pulverized coal-fired boilers. Emission Unit 01 (EU) is owned and operated by Big Rivers Electric. EU 02 and 03 are owned by the City of Henderson, Ky., and operated by Big Rivers Electric. EU 01, at Reid, has a maximum continuous rating of 834 MMBtu/hr. EU 02 and 03, at Henderson Station II, each have a maximum continuous rating of 1,568 MMBtu/hr. Each of the three units are wall-fired, and equipped with an electrostatic precipitator. Additionally, EU 01 is equipped with a mechanical cyclone preceding the ESP. EU 02 and 03 have ESPs, flue gas desulfurization systems, and are equipped with low NOx burners and selective catalytic reduction technology, the division noted.

Marty Littrel, Managing Director Communications & Community Relations at Big Rivers, said in a Feb. 10 e-mail to GenerationHub that Big Rivers is definitely planning to convert Reid 1 to natural gas for federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) compliance. Littrel noted that while Reid 1 is permitted to burn petroleum coke, it never has utilized that fuel option.

Big Rivers Electric is a member-owned, not-for-profit, generation and transmission cooperative headquartered in Henderson, Ky. 

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.