North Carolina commission staff backs Kapstone request on uprated plant

The public staff at the North Carolina Utilities Commission on Dec. 11 filed a report on its review of the additional information for a registration of an upgraded power generating facility  filed by KapStone Kraft Paper Corp.

KapStone’s original combined heat and power facility was built in 1966 and the facility’s turbine generator had a kilovolt-ampere (kVA) rating of 25,600 kVA, equivalent to an electric generating capacity of 21.76 MW. In 2009 and 2012, KapStone performed major renovations to the facility that increased the kVA rating to 31,400 kVA, which converts to 28.26 MW, and also added new thermal capacity.

KapStone noted that the difference between the MW capacity of the turbine generator before and subsequent to the completion of these projects is 6.5 MW, which represents 23% of the turbine’s subsequent incremental electric generating capacity. KapStone therefore requested that the commission designate 23% of the facility’s electric generating capacity as a “new” renewable energy facility, and designate the remaining 77% of the facility’s electric generating capacity as a renewable energy facility, for purposes of KapStone earning renewable energy certificates (RECs).

KapStone also requested that 23% of the facility’s current usable thermal energy generating capacity be designated as a new renewable energy facility, based on its analysis of the proportional relationship between the turbine generator steam throughput and the turbine’s electric power production.

Said the Dec. 11 filing: “The Public Staff has worked extensively with KapStone over the past three years in reviewing the renovations at the facility, both on the electric and thermal side. In addition, the Public Staff has reviewed the application and supplemental materials filed, including the calculations of electrical energy output and useful thermal energy output. As a result of our review, we recommend that the Registration Statement be considered complete and that the multi-fuel calculations be accepted. Since the additional capacities were placed into service after January 1, 2007, the Public Staff also believes that they should be allowed to earn RECs as a new renewable energy facility as defined in G.S. 62-133.8(a)(5). Therefore, the Public Staff recommends that the Commission accept the registration statement for the KapStone facility and designate 23% of the facility’s electric power production and useful thermal energy capacity as a new renewable energy facility and designate the remaining 77% of the facility’s generating capacity as a renewable energy facility for purposes of earning RECs.” 

The draft application for registration as a new renewable energy facility, provided to the public staff in September 2012, states that the facility uses “a fuel mixture that includes 74% biomass-derived fuels.” The company noted in a Nov. 13 filing that for the full year 2012, the percentage of biomass-derived fuel was closer to 76%. This ratio will not change as a result of a turbine generator uprate project. The percentage of bio-fuel used will fluctuate based on the availability of sawdust and black liquor solids and steam demand. The power boiler base loads coal and has been limited in its ability to burn dust at lower steam production rates. The mill is trying to reduce this bottle-neck and incrementally increase the usage of renewable energy sources, said the Nov. 13 filing.

The amount of coal burn in the facility varies by month, with an example month of April 2013 seeing a burn of 8,540 tons.

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.