Prospective new owner of Seward coal plant seeks FERC approval for power sales

Seward Generation LLC, the prospective new owner of the 525-MW Seward coal plant in Pennsylvania, filed a Dec. 2 application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for acceptance of its Market-Based Rate Tariffs, waiver of certain regulations of the commission under the Federal Power Act, and the granting of certain blanket approvals.

These are routine approvals needed for plant owners to make power sales from their facility. NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG) announced Dec. 1 that it has agreed to sell the Seward plant to the Seward Generation affiliate of Robindale Energy Services, with the deal to close in the first quarter of 2016, pending regulatory approvals.

Seward Generation said in the Dec. 2 FERC filing that it has entered into a purchase agreement to acquire the Seward Electric Generating Station, a 585 MW (nameplate) (525 MW summer) waste-coal fired facility located in East Wheatfield Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, and certain associated assets from NRG Wholesale Generation LP. Seward Generation is a newly-organized entity controlled by two individuals, Judson L. Kroh and D. Scott Kroh. D. Scott Kroh is a longtime veteran of the Pennsylvania coal industry.

The sole member of Seward Generation is Generation Holdings LP. The general partner of Generation Holdings is Generation Management LLC, whose managers are Judson L. Kroh and D. Scott Kroh. The limited partnership interests in Generation Holdings are held by a voting trust controlled by Hans J. Mende, a longtime participant in international coal markets through entities like American Metals & Coal International. The membership interests in Generation Management are owned by JAZ Ventures LP (75% interest) and the voting trust (25% interest). The sole general partner of JAZ Ventures is a family trust controlled by D. Scott Kroh, and its limited partners are separate family trusts created for the benefit of Judson L. Kroh, Abigail H. Kroh and Zachary S. Kroh. D. Scott Kroh owns 0.74% of the shares, and a family trust controlled by him owns 74.26%. The remaining 25% is owned by the voting trust controlled by Mende.

Upon consummation of the Seward transaction, Seward Generation said it intends to sell the Seward Station’s power into the wholesale markets operated by PJM Interconnection.

The Seward Generation affiliates are:

  • Robindale Energy Services is an energy services company owned by D. Scott Kroh and certain family trusts. Robindale does not own or control any electric generation facilities in any market. Robindale is the exclusive supplier of waste coal to NRG Wholesale Generation for use as a fuel at the Seward Station, and service provider for the removal of ash and fuel rejects from the Seward Station, pursuant to a Materials Supply Agreement between Robindale and NRG Wholesale’s predecessor in interest, Reliant Energy Seward LLC. Reliant had repowered, with completion in 2004, the old Seward coal plant into a modern facility using fluidized bed combustion technology. Robindale will continue to supply waste coal to the Seward Station from various sources of waste coal owned or controlled by it, and continue to remove all ash and fuel rejects from the Seward Station. It also supplies coal per year to the nearby Conemaugh Station. Robindale does not currently supply waste coal or coal to any other generating facilities in the United States.
  • Sunbury Generation LP owns and controls the Sunbury Generation Station, located in Shamokin Dam, Snyder County, Pennsylvania. The coal-fired units here, which had a total nameplate rating of about 436 MW, were deactivated in July 2014. The site of the former Sunbury Station is being redeveloped by Hummel Station LLC as a natural gas-fired combined cycle plant (nominal capacity of 1,024 MW) that is expected to be in service in in the spring of 2018. Hummel is a joint venture that was established by Sunbury and certain investment funds controlled by Panda Power Generation Infrastructure Fund GP LLC. Sunbury’s interest in the venture was subsequently transferred to JAZ Ventures LP. Sunbury is controlled by its sole general partner, Corona Power LLC, a company comprised of certain entities controlled by Neil W. Hedrick and D. Scott Kroh. JAZ Ventures is controlled by its sole general partner, a family trust controlled by D. Scott Kroh.
  • RES Coal LLC – formed in 2008 – is a surface mining company, headquartered in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. RES Coal is owned 99.9% by Robindale and .01% by D. Scott Kroh. RES Coal specializes in mining high-grade metallurgical coal for domestic and international customers. The company also mines steam coal that is sold to local power stations (about 60,000 tons per year). RES Coal has invested substantial capital into a new preparation plant and new mobile mining fleet. RES Coal produces over 500,000 tons per year of premium, mid-vol hard coking coal.
  • Seward Operating LLC, a company 25% owned by a family trust controlled by D. Scott Kroh and 75% owned by a voting trust controlled by Hans J. Mende, also has a contract with NRG Wholesale to operate and maintain the Seward Station’s material handling system. Following the Seward transaction, Seward Operating will continue to operate and maintain this material handling system.

A company contact is: R. Christopher Anderson, General Counsel, Robindale Energy Services Inc., 11 Lloyd Avenue, Suite 200, Latrobe, PA 15650, Tel: (724) 879-4264 ex. 104, chris.anderson@resfuel.com.

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.