One Big Rivers coal plant was shut in recent months; another didn’t run much

The coal-fired power plants of Big Rivers Electric Corp. had issues with running at decent capacity factors in the fuel review period of November 2014-April 2015, said Big Rivers in data it filed Aug. 28 at the Kentucky Public Service Commission as part of its twice-yearly fuel review case.

During the November 2014-April 2015 period the figures by plant were:

  • Reid Station (Coal), 7,019.18 tons of burn, 1.08% capacity factor;
  • Station II (Coal), 301,346.39 tons of burn, 89.72% capacity factor;
  • Green Station (Coal), 615,942.63 tons of burn, 82% capacity factor;
  • Green Station (Pet Coke), 128,459 tons of burn, same capacity factor as above;
  • Coleman Station (Coal), no burn, -0.30% capacity factor;
  • Wilson Station (Coal), 649,941.03 tons of burn, 92.51% capacity factor; and
  • Wilson Station (Pet Coke), 90,041.4 tons of burn, same capacity factor as above.

The Station II figures are net of City of Henderson, which takes power from the plant. The Coleman Station has been idled since May 2014 due to a loss of load from aluminum smelters in western Kentucky that have secured alternate sources of power supply.

The Aug. 28 filing, besides offering details on coal contracts in effect during the six-month review period, offered these details on coal stockpiles at the plants as of the end of that period: 

  • Reid Station, 9,883.6 tons in stock, 19 days of burn, preceding six months of burn was 7,019.18 tons;
  • Station II, 194.414.88 tons in stock, 96 days of supply, 301,346.39 tons of burn in prior six-month period;
  • Green Station, 285,947.7 tons in stock, 61 days of supply, 744,401.63 tons of burn in prior six-month period;
  • Coleman Station, zeroes across the board due to station being idled for that period; and
  • Wilson Station, 343,661.73 tons of stock, 80 days of supply, 739,982.43 tons burned in prior six-month period.

The actual inventory for Station II exceeds the target range by 36 days. An extended planned outage on Station II, Unit 2 caused part of Station II to exceed its target range. The extended outage was over 635 hours. Also, Station II and Green Station had to absorb a Patriot Coal (now assigned to Alliance Coal) contract. Finally, the Wilson Station exceeds the target range by 20 days. Wilson Station exceeded its target range due to market conditions. Also, Big Rivers could not shift coal from contracts that were going to be shared at Green Station due to Green absorbing part of the Patriot Coal contract, and due to issues of coal quality of contracts formerly utilized at Coleman Station. Big Rivers said it plans to aggressively reclaim coal and pet coke that is on the ground in 2016 to bring Station II and Wilson Station back within their target levels.

Factors also affecting burn and stockpile levels were:

  • Reid Station Unit 1 was in standby reserve 158 days for the six-month review period. Reid 1 was out of service 10 days due to unscheduled and scheduled outages. The duration of generation was reduced to 13 days.
  • Station II Units 1 and 2 had unscheduled and scheduled maintenance hours of 439.2 hours. Unit 2 had a basic and extended planned outage of 1,140 hours in March and April 2015. These hours were equivalent to 33 days. The duration of generation was reduced to 148 days. In October 2014, the Station II inventory target was modified from 60-80 days to 30-60 days.
  • Green Units 1 and 2 had unscheduled and scheduled maintenance hours of 150.1 hours. These hours were equivalent to three days. Green 1 was placed in standby reserve for 29.2 hours and Green 2 was placed in reserve standby for 840.3 hours. These hours were equivalent to 18 days. The duration of generation was reduced to 160 days.
  • Coleman Station Units 1, 2 and 3 were placed on Inactive Reserve Status on May 8, 2014, and this totaled 13,032.0 hours, which was equivalent to 181 days. The duration of generation was reduced to zero days. Coleman Station will have no inventory going forward unless it is removed from the Inactive Reserve Status.
  • Wilson Unit 1 had 212.2 scheduled and unscheduled maintenance hours. These hours were equivalent to nine days of the six-month review period. The duration of generation was reduced to 172 days.

Major coal suppliers during the six-month period included Alliance Coal, Patriot Coal Sales, Peabody CoalSales and Rhino Energy LLC.

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.