FirstEnergy nearing end of demolition of Burger coal plant in Ohio

FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) said July 29 that it completed demolition of the 854-foot concrete stack and associated building at its former coal-fired R.E. Burger Power Station in Shadyside, Ohio, paving the way for future development. 

Approximately 450 pounds of explosives were used to drop Burger’s concrete stack and 171-foot tall boiler house, where steam was created to generate electricity. These activities were the culmination of more than three weeks of preparation.

To ensure the safety of the hundreds of spectators who viewed the demolition, FirstEnergy worked closely with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard, and authorities from Belmont County, Ohio, and Marshall County, W. Va. Highways in the area along with the Ohio River were closed for approximately 20 minutes as the buildings were toppled.

“Today’s demolition is an important milestone that supports future development of the Burger facility,” said James H. Lash, Executive Vice President and President of FirstEnergy Generation. “We are working with state and local officials, JobsOhio and PTTGC America to support use of this property for a proposed cracker plant that will bring a vital manufacturing base to the county and many employment and business development opportunities to the region.”

FirstEnergy has entered into an agreement with PTTGC America for transfer of the property if the company elects to proceed with construction of an ethane gas cracker plant at the site. Under the agreement, PTTGC America retains exclusive property acquisition rights while completing the engineering studies associated with the proposed project. 

The Burger plant was fully retired in 2011, and demolition activities began in 2015 to remove several other structures, including an electrical switchyard, three other buildings and the coal yard and its associated equipment. Property clean-up, removal of scrap metal and concrete debris, and planting grass on the site is expected to be complete by the end of 2016.

FirstEnergy’s Burger plant began operation in 1944 as a single-unit, 63-MW coal plant. A second 63-MW unit was added in 1947, followed by a 103-MW unit in 1950 and two 156-MW units in 1955. The Burger units collectively produced 568 MW.

Units 1 and 2 were the first to retire in 1995, when they reached the end of their life cycle. Units 4 and 5 were decommissioned at the end of 2010 due to economic conditions, and Unit 3 was retired in 2011 based on the impact of environmental rules.

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.