DTE Electric adding pet coke to the fuel mix at Monroe coal plant

DTE Electric has begun supplementing the coal burned at its big Monroe power plant with petroleum coke and is including in its budget outlined in a Feb. 1 rate case filed at the Michigan Public Service Commission the money to install new facilities to handle that pet coke on a long-term basis.

Franklin D. Warren, employed by DTE Energy Corporate Services LLC, a subsidiary of DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE), tesitifed that the budget includes $4.4 million for a pet coke handling facility at Monroe and $2 million for dumper house truck lock replacement at Monroe.

“Monroe has started to utilize pet coke as a supplemental fuel because of its favorable pricing,” Warren wrote. “This project will install permanent facilities to receive and handle pet coke at Monroe which reduces customer fuel bills. Monroe receives about 8 million tons of coal per year most of which is transported by rail car and dumped at the plant utilizing rotary dumpers. For the dumpers to operate properly the rail cars must be exactly positioned to avoid derailments and dumper house truck locks provide that function. This system can no longer be economically repaired and is being replaced. The ability to sustain coal receiving and dumping operations is critical to plant operations.”

Monroe is a four-unit, 3,066-MW (net) plant that is fully equipped with scrubbers and selectic catalytic reduction technology for emissions control.

Another point of note on Monroe fuel supply was in testimony from David C. Milo, a Fuel Resources Specialist in the Operations and Logistics section of the utility’s Fuel Supply department. He was asked to explain the difference between the 2014 historical fuel inventory balance and the forecasted test period fuel inventory balance.

“Fuel inventory in the projected period reflects a reduction of $43.9 million in 2015 for the sale of Montana coal to Belle River Fuels Company,” he wrote. “DTE Electric will purchase reduced emission fuel (REF) coal from that entity on a just-in-time basis going forward. An additional $59.5 million reduction during 2016 and 2017 reflects the depletion of coal inventory balances, primarily due to the reduction of mid-sulfur eastern coal at Monroe as the plant moves to the use of high sulfur eastern coal in fuel blending.”

REF is coal where chemicals are added to reduce certain stack emissions during combustion.

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.