Kentucky Power’s coal buying in transition as Big Sandy Unit 2 is retired

Kentucky Power on Aug. 28, in a twice-yearly fuel report filed at the Kentucky Public Service Commission, was essentially making the last such report where its 800-MW, coal-fired Big Sandy Unit 2 ran for the full period before being retired.

Unit 2 was retired on June 1 for clean-air reasons, and the coal-fired Big Sandy Unit 1 is being converted to burn natural gas and will stop burning coal in November of this year. This American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) subsidiary did recently acquire from an AEP affiliate half of the coal-fired Mitchell power plant in northern West Virginia, has roughly the same capacity as the retired Big Sandy Unit 2.

The Aug. 28 report covers the November 2014-April 2015 fuel cost review period. For each generating station or unit for which a separate coal pile is maintained, the stats for that period are:

  • Big Sandy, 1,075,834 tons of coal burned, 829,309 tons delivered to the plant, 2,667,082 MWH generated, 56.95% capacity factor; and
  • Mitchell, 661,623 tons of coal burned, 656,375 delivered to the plant, 1,655,419 MWH generated, and 45.09% capacity factor (these figures represent Kentucky Power’s half share of the plant).

As of April 30, the end of the fuel review period, Kentucky Power’s actual coal inventory levels (company share) were as follows:

  • Big Sandy: 86,433 tons, or eight days of supply;
  • Mitchell High Sulfur: 160,913 tons, or 43 days of supply
  • Mitchell Low Sulfur: 125,565 tons, or 33 days of supply

Kentucky Power said it does not expect any significant changes in the coal inventory target for the Mitchell plant within the next 12 months.

Coal suppliers to the utility in the six-month period included Alliance Coal, Alpha Coal Sales, Beech Fork Processing, Consolidation Coal and Patriot Coal Sales.

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.