SWEPCO lines up alternative power during imminent Flint Creek tie-in outage

Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) on Feb. 25 notified the Arkansas Public Service Commission that the coal-fired Flint Creek power plant is due to go down for its tie-in outage for new air controls no later than March 5, though under favorable load conditions there is a possibility the plant outage may occur as early as Feb. 27.

The planned end date of the outage is May 30. SWEPCO said it notified the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) about this outage and subsequently received SPP’s approval. SWEPCO took several steps to ensure that the planned outage of Flint Creek would not negatively impact the reliability within the SPP Balancing Area. Following SWEPCO’s historic practice, it requested the Flint Creek outage to occur during the “shoulder” months, when demand is typically at its lowest level during the year.

Additionally, SWEPCO has planned for at least three of the four peaking units of the H.D. Mattison Power Plant to be available throughout the Flint Creek outage duration. The Mattison Plant is located in the same geographic area as Flint Creek and may be called upon to run via the SPP Day Ahead Market or the Reliability Unit Commitment process.

Finally, SWEPCO will be able to fulfill its daily SPP capability requirements with its remaining internal generating resources. Thus, SWEPCO does not anticipate any reliability concerns or additional seasonal capacity costs as a result of the Flint Creek planned outage.

The planned outage of Flint Creek is also not expected to result in a material increase in costs related to supplying the energy needs of SWEPCO’s customers. The period of the planned outage is typically among the lowest demand and market price periods of the year. Forward price estimates are expected to be comparable with the Average Full Load Cost of Flint Creek and should therefore not have an adverse impact on SWEPCO’s energy supply costs. In addition to market purchases, SWEPCO also has sufficient internal generation resources to replace the energy unavailable as a result of the Flint Creek outage. A combination of market purchases and internal replacement generation is expected to provide an economic substitute for any energy required as a result of the outage.

This 528-MW plant is co-owned by SWEPCO, an American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) subsidiary, and by Arkansas Electric Cooperative. The project includes the installation of an Alstom Novel Integrated Desulphurization (NID) scrubber system to comply with the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) and in anticipation of Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) Rule. The project also includes an Activated Carbon Injection (ACI) system between the NID and the Unit 1 burners.

The plant co-owners have secured a one-year extension to the MATS deadline, to April 16 of this year. By the time the plant is back up after the tie-in outage is completed, the MATS deadline will be a non-issue.

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.