AES deactivated 125-MW Beaver Valley coal plant on Sept. 1

The AES Beaver Valley LLC unit of AES Corp. (NYSE: AES) on Sept. 1 deactivated the 125-MW Beaver Valley coal-fired plant in western Pennsylvania, said PJM Interconnection in a Sept. 11 update of its actual power plant deactivation list.

Said a notation in the list about Beaver Valley: “Reliability analysis complete. Impacts identified. Upgrades and interim operating measures expected to be completed in 2nd quarter 2017. On 6/1/2015 AES Beaver Valley submitted an updated deactivation notice for 9/1/2015. New reliability analysis complete. Impacts identified. Upgrade identified (existing baseline upgrade) that needs to be accelerated. Interim Operating measure identified. Unit can deactivate as scheduled on 9/1/2015. Unit deactivated on 9/1/2015.”

AES Beaver Valley had in 2013 originally asked for a deactivation date in June 2017, before moving it up to Sept. 1 of this year.

This plant shutdown was more about economics than the federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) compliance that drove the shutdowns in PJM earlier this year of thousands of MWs of coal-fired capacity. AES earlier this decade took a buyout of the long-term power sales contract that had underpinned operation of this plant.

A May 2012 report from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection about the renewal of AES Beaver Valley’s Title V air permit shows that the plant has four pulverized-coal-fired boilers dating back to the mid 1940s. The plant fired coal with a 1%-1.25% sulfur content. Installed air emissions controls include wet flue gas desulfurization and electrostatic precipitators on all four units. The company in 2001 got an air permit to repower the plant with circulating fluidized-bed combustion technology, but that plan was later shelved and the permit lapsed.

A separate updated list that PJM issued on Sept. 11 of pending deactivations shows that Beaver Valley is the last coal-fired facility to be shut this year in PJM. The next coal units on the list are:

  • By March 31, 2016, Dominion Virginia Power is due to deactivate Yorktown Unit 1 (159 MW) and Unit 2 (165 MW). These units were to be shut at the end of 2014, but PJM needed them for support while grid upgrades are being made. Dominion was able at the end of 2014 to shut the coal units at its Chesapeake plant, as originally planned.
  • East Kentucky Power Cooperative is due to shut its coal-fired Dale Unit 3 (74 MW) and Unit 4 (73 MW) by April 16, 2016, which is the end of a one-year compliance extension period under MATS. Those units were to be shut by April 16 of this year, but again PJM needed them temporarily for grid support purposes.
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.