Coal, Emissions, Gas, New Projects, O&M, Policy & Regulations, Retrofits & Upgrades

Big Sandy coal-fired unit to remain operational, convert to natural gas

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a plan that will allow Kentucky Power Co. to continue generating electricity at the Big Sandy coal-fired power plant.

The 278-MW Big Sandy 1 will undergo a $50 million conversion to run on natural gas in order to meet federal air quality regulations or else it would have had to shut down in April 2015. Kentucky Power said it made more economic sense to convert the unit rather than retrofit it with air quality control equipment. The conversion will reduce its capacity to 268-MW.

The 800-MW Unit 2 will still shut down in mid-2015 as part of a federal court consent decree. The output of the 780-MW Mitchell power plant will help replace the lost capacity. Kentucky Power also contracts with American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) for electricity from a power plant in Indiana and has a contract for future purchases from a 58.5-MW biomass plant to be built in Perry County.