SunCoke approved for 90-MW power project at Kentucky coke facility

The Kentucky State Board on Electric Generation and Transmission Siting on Feb. 20 approved an October 2014 application from SunCoke Energy South Shore LLC for a certificate to construct a merchant electric generating facility and a 138-kV non-regulated transmission line near South Shore, Greenup County, Kentucky.

The proposed merchant generating facility would be a critical component of, and contained within, a new advanced heat-recovery coke plant that SunCoke proposes to construct. The coke plant facility would be located on approximately 250 acres in an area that is primarily industrial near the Ohio River. The coke plant would bake metallurgical coal and annually produce 831,100 tons of coke and coke breeze, which will be sold to integrated steel makers for iron production in blast furnaces and/or to foundries. Approximately 982,000 tons of met coal will be used annually. SunCoke anticipates that 24% of this met coal may be sourced from Kentucky, the board noted. The site is near the eastern Kentucky coalfields.

The proposed coke plant facility contains 120 heat-recovery coke ovens, coal charging, coke pushing and handling equipment, a quench tower, coke storage facilities, various administrative and support buildings, associated air pollution control equipment consisting of a flue gas desulfurization system, and a final stack to emit the desulfurized flue gas. The waste heat produced by the coking process is to be converted to steam by the heat-recovery steam generators. The steam is then transferred to the merchant generating facility’s steam turbine generator (STG) to produce electricity.

The proposed merchant generating facility includes a steam turbine generator, vacuum condenser, cooling tower, extraction steam systems, related process and instrument control systems, and a step-up unit and associated electrical equipment. The proposed generating facility produces power at 13.8 kV and has a nominally rated capacity at 90 MW. However, due to the batch process of the coke plant, the typical nominal power production is expected to vary in the 40-MW-to-80-MW range, as the steam supply varies. A generator step-up transformer will increase the voltage from 13.8 kV to 138 kV.

The power will be transmitted via the proposed 138-kV transmission line to American Electric Power‘s Millbrook Park substation, which is located approximately one mile north in New Boston, Scioto County, Ohio, which is on the other side of the Ohio River. Approximately 0.7 miles of the proposed transmission line will be located in Kentucky, traversing only property owned by SunCoke and the Ohio River.

The capital investment for the project will be approximately $450m.

The Feb. 20 board decision said: “Having reviewed the record and being otherwise sufficiently advised, the Siting Board finds that SunCoke should be granted a conditional construction certificate for the proposed merchant generating facility and the transmission line. We find that SunCoke, by choosing to locate its proposed generating facility and transmission line in an area that is primarily industrial in nature, has largely mitigated the effects the proposed facilities may have on the scenic surroundings of the site. We find that the proposed facilities would not have an adverse impact on the property values of the nearby properties, nor would it adversely impact the pattern and type of properties adjacent to the proposed site.”

The parent of SunCoke Energy South Shore is SunCoke Energy Inc. (NYSE: SXC), a major merchant coke producer with several newer coke plants, including the Haverhill facilities in Ohio. 

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.