EPA to okay air plan change related to Louisville’s Cane Run coal plant repowering

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to approve a State Implementation Plan (SIP) revision from the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection that establishes emission requirements for the changeover from coal-fired units U4, U5 and U6 to a new natural gas-fired combined cycle (NGCC) generating unit U15 and auxiliary boiler U16 at Louisville Gas and Electric’s Cane Run Generating Station.

EPA will say in a June 15 Federal Register notice that comments on this intent must be received within 30 days after June 15.

In June 2011, LG&E submitted to the Air Pollution Control Board of Jefferson County an application for a permit to construct a new NGCC generating unit U15 and auxiliary boiler U16 and retire coal-fired units U4, U5 and U6 at Cane Run to comply with other federal requirements, including the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. The Kentucky DEP then submitted a SIP revision for EPA to approve the Cane Run NOx RACT Plan Amendment 2 into the Kentucky SIP.

Amendment 2 includes two parts:

  • Part 1, the existing NOx RACT Plan for the coal-fired units, which will remain in effect until those units are retired; and
  • Part 2, the plan that will become effective upon the start of operation of the NGCC facility and the shut-down of the coal-fired units. 

A comparison shows that substitution of the NGCC units for the coal-fired units will cause a reduction of 11,660 tons per year (tpy) of NOx allowable emissions.

Says the LG&E website: “In early July 2015, LG&E and KU announced that Kentucky’s first natural gas combined cycle generating unit – known as Cane Run 7 or CR7 – became commercially available. The single NGCC unit replaces the bulk of the 800 megawatts of coal-fired generation as the company retires 13 percent of its energy production from coal-fired units. LG&E and KU announced the retirement plans in 2011 as the result of stricter U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandates, which, after a thorough analysis of available options, made building the NGCC unit the most economical option to pursue. With CR7 fully operational and serving customers, the company continues to execute closure plans for Cane Run’s coal-fired operations. Cane Run Unit 6 was retired at the end of March, and Units 4 and 5 were retired shortly after CR7 went into operation. The plans include capping and closing the facility’s special waste landfill and ash pond, which should be completed in 2016. The transition from coal to natural gas brings an end to coal-fired generation at Cane Run that spanned more than six decades and pioneered award-winning, environmental technology for the utility industry.”

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.