New Cane Run 7 gas unit backs down coal-fired capacity at Kentucky Utilities

During the latest fuel review period for Kentucky Utilities, which covers the period May-October 2015, the coal-fired Green River Unit 3 and Green River Unit 4 ceased operation at the end of September, the utility said in a Feb. 19 filing with the Kentucky Public Service Commission.

Also during the period under review, the gas-fired Cane Run 7 became commercially operational. Kentucky Utilities and sister utility Louisville Gas and Electric now heavily rely on that new facility for generation. “All coal generation at Green River has now ceased,” the report added. “The addition of Cane Run 7 and its position as first in dispatch, resulting from high efficiency and the current price of natural gas, has lessened the operations of coal units within the fleet.”

As of Oct. 31, 2015, the coal inventories for the KU plants were:

  • EW Brown, 245,007 tons, which is 38 days against a target of 30-55 days;
  • Ghent, 907,178 tons, which is 43 days against a target of 20-39 days;
  • Trimble County, 323,360 tons, 49 days against a target of 21-44 days. Trimble County coal inventory includes both Powder River Basin and high sulfur coals used for Trimble County Unit 2.

During the review period, the coal plants performed this way (note that the Green River units were only operating during part of the period):

  • E. W. Brown, 531,626 tons of coal burned, 573,511 tons received, 1,049,446 net MWH of generation, 34.8% capacity factor;
  • Ghent, 2,824,675 of coal burned, 2,853,611 tons received, 5,893,609 net MWH, 69.5% capacity factor;
  • Green River, 165,529 tons burned, 81,311 received, 317,039 net MWH, 53.6% capacity factor;
  • Trimble County High Sulfur (HS), N/A, 1,853,673 tons received, N/A, N/A;
  • Trimble County Powder River Basin (PRB), N/A, 312,204 tons received, N/A N/A; and
  • Trimble County 2, 1,239,538 tons burned, N/A, 2,890,778 net MWH, 89.4% capacity factor.

The filing includes details of coal contracts that were in place during the review period, including a 2011 deal with Alliance Coal LLC for coal supplied by Hopkins County Coal, Warrior Coal and Webster County Coal that is due to expire at the end of 2016 and calls for 3 million tons in 2016.

The coal suppliers during the review period werre:

  • Alliance Coal LLC, 320,794 tons, Contract;
  • Alliance Coal LLC, 6,241 tons, Contract;
  • Alliance Coal LLC, 139,214 tons, Contract;
  • Arch Coal Sales, 312,204 tons, Contract;
  • Arch Coal Sales, 39,359 tons, Spot;
  • Armstrong Coal, 393,737 tons, Contract;
  • Armstrong Coal, 318,845 tons, Contract;
  • Armstrong Coal, 488,338 tons, Contract;
  • Armstrong Coal, 39,971 tons, Contract;
  • Armstrong Coal, 49,804 tons, Spot;
  • Bowie Refined Coal LLC, 55,357 tons, Contract;
  • COALSALES LLC, 434,858 tons, Contract;
  • COALSALES LLC, 80,240 tons, Spot;
  • Foresight Coal Sales LLC, 195,461 tons, Contract;
  • Rhino Energy LLC, 313,098 tons, Contract;
  • River Trading Co., 22,490 tons, Spot;
  • Thoroughfare Mining LLC, 42,711 tons, Spot;
  • Triad Mining LLC, 76,862 tons, Contract;
  • Triad Mining LLC, 264,260 tons, Contract;
  • Western Kentucky Minerals, 3,205 tons, Spot;
  • White Oak Resources LLC, 112,935 tons, Contract; and
  • White Oak Resources LLC, 110,651 tons, Spot.

KU noted that with the retirement of Bill Gilbert Sr. as Fuels and Transportation Administrator as of the end of 2015, Tedra Thomas joined the department on Oct. 21, 2015 as Fuels Administrator II.

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.