Indiana muni to switch 100-MW coal plant to solid waste gasification
Louisville, Kentucky (Platts)--2Aug2011/536 pm EDT/2136 GMT
Closing out a century as a coal-fired generator, municipal utility
Richmond Power & Light of Indiana plans to switch its 100-MW Whitewater
Valley coal-fired generating station to burn gas produced from solid waste by
the spring of 2013.
The conversion is estimated to cost $150 million to $160 million,
general manager Steve Saum said Tuesday. "The process takes municipal solid
waste, refines it into resource derived fuel, taking out the recyclables in
the front end but leaving the high Btu content for us," he said.
"Then, it goes into a gasification process, not incineration, which
produces the gas" that subsequently is burned to generate electricity.
Only one of Whitewater Valley's two units -- a 66-MW unit installed in
1972 -- is expected to be retrofitted with the gasification technology, he
said. The other 34-MW unit will be shut down within the same timeframe.
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According to Saum, the conversion technology is used commercially in
Japan and Europe, but is not currently in use in the US.
"We're going to be the first commercial-sized plant in the US," said
Harry Phillips, RP&L delivery service director.
The city is signing a contract with Cate Street Capital of Delaware,
which is expected to finance and operate the new venture.
Saum said the muni, which serves 21,500 customers, decided to sever its
historic relationship with coal for economic and environmental reasons, such
as rising coal prices and increasing Environmental Protection Agency
pollution control rules.
RP&L's existing coal contract with a southwestern Indiana supplier,
which Saum did not identify, runs through 2011 and has an option for 2012.
The year "2012 probably will be the last year for coal out of
southwestern Indiana," he said.
--Bob Matyi, email@example.com