Coal, Emissions, Gas

Owners of retired Crane coal-fired plant latest to consider gas conversion

The now retired C.P. Crane coal-fired power plant may be revived, but only with different fuel sources generating the electricity.

The Maryland plant’s owners, Avenue Capital Group, are beginning the planning for converting it to burn mainly natural gas. Avenue Capital acquired the Crane Generating Station from Talen Energy three years ago and closed the plant in 2018.

A judge for the state utility commission has signed off on the owner’s plans, according to the Baltimore Sun, but the potential revival of Crane is causing no small debate in Baltimore County. Avenue Capital pointed out that natural gas has about half the carbon emissions of coal but still is far less clean than renewable sources such as wind, solar or hydro.

Middle River Power, the investment group which owns Avenue Capital, is planning on re-developing Crane as a 160-MW dual-fuel peaking plant. It completed as planned, Crane would run on natural gas and ultra low sulfur diesel as a backup.

Coal-to-gas conversions are ramping up as the shale gas revolution boosts U.S. reserves to historic levels and positions it as a net energy exporter in the future. Bechtel worked on conversion of Pennsylvania’s 400-MW Sunbury coal-fired plant site–retired in 2014–to a 1,124-MW gas turbine combined cycle facility.

Oklahoma Gas & Electric also is converting two of its coal-fired Muskogee units to natural gas.

— — — — — 

The Future of Coal-fired Generation and Gas Turbines and Plants are two of the tracks being offered at POWERGEN International. The nation’s biggest annual power generation conference is happening Nov. 19-21 in New Orleans.