Big Rivers working on MATS compliance for Wilson coal plant

The Kentucky Public Service Commission on April 16, coincidentally the same day that the federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) took effect, approved the latest twice-per-year environmental surcharge case for Big Rivers Electric.

Big Rivers’ 2007 environmental compliance plan approved by the commission consists of programs and associated costs dealing with the control of SO2, NOx and sulfur trioxide (S03) In an October 2012 order issued by the commission, it approved certain additions to the 2007 plan relating to the MATS rule. The additions to the 2012 plan involved installing activated carbon injection and dry sorbent injection systems and emission control monitors at Big Rivers’ coal-fired Coleman, Wilson, and Green generating stations; and installing emission control monitors at Henderson Municipal Power & Light‘s Station Two generation station.

“Because of the termination of retail power contracts by two aluminum smelters, Big Rivers planned to idle the Coleman and Wilson stations and postpone installation of the MATS compliance equipment,” the commission noted. “The Coleman station was idled as of May 9, 2014, and Big Rivers states that it will complete the MATS projects at Coleman prior to returning it to service.

“Big Rivers has postponed the idling of the Wilson station until December 31, 2015, as it has made favorable sales of power from Wilson for the calendar year 2015. Big Rivers has conducted testing to determine if operational changes at Wilson would be sufficient to achieve MATS compliance without installing additional equipment. Big Rivers has determined that it can comply with all emission standards of the MATS rule by utilizing dry sorbent injection only. Big Rivers has received extensions to April 16, 2016, for MATS compliance from the Kentucky Division of Air Quality for the Green, Reid and Wilson stations.

“Big Rivers’ environmental surcharge mechanism allows Big Rivers to recover costs related to the 2007 Plan and the 2012 Plan, less proceeds from by-product and emission allowance sales, plus or minus an ongoing cumulative over- or under-recovery adjustment.”

Coleman is a 443-MW plant, while Wilson is at 417 MW. These plants mostly burn high-sulfur coal from western Kentucky suppliers.

Notable is that Big Rivers, in a separate case, on April 16 filed with the commission a settlement of issues with the Kentucky Attorney General and the Kentucky Industrial Utility Customers group over three wholesale power sales agreements entered into by Big Rivers with the Northeast Nebraska Public Power District, the City of Wakefield, Nebraska, and the City of Wayne, Nebraska.

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.