NRG running behind on Avon Lake coal-to-gas conversion

NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) is already running a few months behind on its plan to convert the coal-fired Avon Lake plant in northern Ohio to burning natural gas.

Alan Sawyer, a vice president of NRG Ohio Pipeline LLC, was one of the NRG officials providing April 6 testimony at the Ohio Power Siting Board, which is reviewing a letter of notification (LON) from the company asking to approve the gas pipeline that will serve the re-fueled Avon Lake plant.

The 734-MW Avon Lake plant was slated for retirement due to upcoming U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emission reduction requirements. As an alternative to retirement, NRG is undertaking efforts to add natural gas as a fuel. The natural gas addition project requires the need to construct an approximately 20-mile pipeline to bring natural gas to the plant. NRG has formed a new legal entity to design, permit and construct that pipeline – NRG Ohio Pipeline. The LON application was filed with the board in December 2014.

Said Sawyer about project timing: “The Avon Lake Plant has a capacity obligation for the 2016/17 delivery year with the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., which commences on June 1, 2016. In order to hit this target, the Pipeline must be placed into service two months prior to allow the Avon Lake Plant to fulfill testing requirements. As noted on pages 9 and 10 of the LON, NRG Ohio Pipeline had aimed to receive the necessary permits and approvals to begin tree cutting in March of 2015. At this point, now in April of 2015 without the LON in hand, it is likely that tree clearing cannot occur until October 2015 and the in-service date will be the summer of 2016.”

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.