New lignite supply for Coyote power plant is just beginning

Otter Tail Power noted in an integrated resource plan filed June 1 at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that shipments of replacement lignite to the Coyote power plant were due to begin on or around June 1.

The Coyote Station, located near Beulah, N.D., is a lignite-fired minemouth facility. Otter Tail owns 35% of this unit. The Coyote Station was declared commercial in 1981 and is equipped with a flue gas desulfurization unit and a baghouse. Otter Tail became the operating agent of the facility in 1998. The other co-owners are the Northern Municipal Power Agency, Montana-Dakota Utilities and Northwestern Public Service. Minnkota Power Cooperative acts as the agent for Northern Municipal Power Agency.

The Coyote Station approved outlet rating is limited to 427,000 kW due to transmission limitations. The facility also has two emergency diesel generators that are not accredited in Midcontinent ISO due to the transmission limitations. Coyote completed a high-pressure/intermediate pressure rotor replacement in 2009 that resulted in about a 2% increase in efficiency. It also increased the UCAP rating of the plant by about 6,000 kW.

Coyote completed the installation of activated carbon injection for mercury control in 2015 as well as a SOFA (separated over-fire air) system for NOx reduction during 2016.

The IRP said: “Additionally, the Owners of the Coyote station have entered into a 25 year lignite supply agreement with Coyote Creek Mining Company to begin supplying the Coyote Station with lignite from a new, efficient mine. Supply of lignite coal from CCMC begins approximately June 1, 2016 at the completion of an outage.”

Coyote Creek Mining is a unit of North American Coal, while the former minemouth coal supplier to the Coyote plant is the Beulah mine of Dakota Westmoreland, a unit of Westmoreland Coal. The new Coyote Creek mine is further away from the power plant than Beulah, but Coyote Creek is a new mine with lower stripping ratios and costs than Beulah. U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data shows that the Coyote Creek mine site was active in the first quarter of 2016, with an average of 74 employees, but with no start of production yet.

Says the Westmoreland Coal website about Beulah: “Coal from this operation supplies the fuel requirements for the adjacent 427 megawatt Coyote Generating Station. Coyote is a low-cost, base-load generation facility that utilizes emission control technologies and purchases all of its lignite from the Beulah Mine. Dakota Westmoreland also owns and controls a four-mile rail spur that connects the mine and plant to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad’s Stanton line, which it uses to supply the two-unit 75 megawatt Heskett Station, located 74 miles away. The Beulah Mine produces approximately 2.9 million tons of lignite annually.”

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.