Appalachian Power seeks permitting over Clinch River Unit 3 retirement

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is out for comment until Sept. 23 on a draft air permit related to the recent retirement of a coal unit at Appalachian Power‘s Clinch River power plant.

The Clinch River plant is located at Carbo in Russell County, Virginia. The facility originally consisted of three coal-fired units. However, in 2015 the utility removed Unit 3 from service and it converted Units 1 and 2 to natural gas combustion in 2016. Units 1 and 2 are both vertically-fired (downward) and are rated at 2461 MMBtu/hr each.

Appalachian Power is a subsidiary of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP).

The original state operating permit for the Clinch River Plant was issued in January 2009, to incorporate the provisions of a federal consent decree and a Virginia DEQ consent order into a federally enforceable permit. The federal consent decree involved multiple coal-fired facilities in the AEP Eastern System. The decree required the addition of pollution controls at several facilities, placed caps on emissions from the collective group, as well as some emission limits on individual facilities. The Clinch River Plant was identified as one of the affected facilities in the Eastern Group.

The consent decree specified that the Clinch River Plant operate low-NOX burners and selective non-catalytic reduction (SNCR) systems on each unit, but did not limit NOx emissions. The decree also limited SO2 emissions from the plant to 16,300 tons/yr, beginning in 2015.

In 2015, a minor NSR permit was issued to Appalachian Power to retire Unit 3 and convert Units 1 and 2 from coal to natural gas combustion. The conversion to natural gas combustion was completed in early 2016. APCO has submitted a state operating permit application to remove the coal combustion-related conditions and provisions pertaining to the operation of Unit 3 from the permit. Since the federal consent decree and the DEQ consent order are still applicable requirements for the Clinch River Plant, the corresponding SO2 limits will be retained in the permit.

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.