Three MidAmerican coal units to be retired or fuel switched this spring

MidAmerican Energy currently anticipates retiring the coal-fired Walter Scott Jr. Units 1 and 2 (124 MW net) by April 15, 2015, and the coal-fired George Neal Units 1 and 2 (394 MW net) by April 15, 2016.

These Iowa units, to be retired due to the federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), produced 2.1 million MWh of electricity, or 7% of MidAmerican Energy’s owned generation production, during 2014.

Additionally, MidAmerican Energy said in its March 2 annual Form 10-K report that it currently plans to limit the coal-capable Riverside Unit No. 5 (124 MW net) to natural gas combustion by March 31, 2015.

These changes would leave MidAmerican with this coal capacity still in operation: George Neal Units 3 and 4; Louisa; Ottumwa; and Walter Scott Jr. Units 3 and 4.

There are environmental projects, primarily at the coal-fired George Neal Units 3 and 4 and Ottumwa Generating Station, totaling $76 million for 2014, $171 million for 2013 and $189 million for 2012, that involve installation or upgrades of emissions control equipment for the reduction of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions. MidAmerican Energy anticipates costs for environmental projects will total $190 million between 2015 and 2017 and consist primarily of expenditures for the management of coal combustion residuals.

All of the coal-fueled facilities operated by MidAmerican Energy are fueled by low-sulfur, western coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming. MidAmerican Energy’s coal supply portfolio includes multiple suppliers and mines under short-term and multi-year agreements of varying terms and quantities through 2018. MidAmerican Energy’s coal supply portfolio has substantially all of its expected 2015 requirements under fixed-price contracts.

MidAmerican Energy has a multi-year long-haul coal transportation agreement with BNSF Railway for the delivery of coal to all of the MidAmerican Energy-operated coal-fueled facilities other than the George Neal Energy Center. Under this agreement, BNSF delivers coal directly to MidAmerican Energy’s Walter Scott, Jr. Energy Center and to an interchange point with the Canadian Pacific Railway for short-haul delivery to the Louisa and Riverside energy centers. MidAmerican Energy has a multi-year long-haul coal transportation agreement with the Union Pacific Railroad for the delivery of coal to the George Neal Energy Center.

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.