Winchester, KY - East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) recently announced plans to deactivate Dale Station in Clark County over the next year, indefinitely ceasing operations of the power plant by April 2015.
None of Dale Station’s four coal-fueled units currently meets the provisions of the federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule, which goes into effect in April 2015. Compliance with the rule would require cost-prohibitive measures.
“Dale Station’s generating units are quite small compared to today’s standard coal-fueled power plants,” Don Mosier, EKPC’s Chief Operating Officer said. “EKPC’s goal is to provide reliable, affordable power to our 16 owner-member cooperatives, and it is very difficult to justify the costs necessary to keep such small units operating.”
EKPC plans to close Dale Units #1 and #2 immediately and begin to explore marketing the assets of those units. Beginning in April 2015, Dale Units #3 and #4 will be conditioned for indefinite storage.
“Dale Units #3 and #4 will be carefully maintained in place but in inactive status,” Mosier said. “Should market, regulatory or other conditions change at some point in the future to allow Dale Units #3 and #4 to operate economically again, the units will be available for retrofit or conversion, subject to regulatory or other approvals.”
Dale Station, located in southern Clark County, Ky., is EKPC’s oldest power plant. The plant’s four coal-fueled generating units began operating between 1954 and 1960. Together, they have the capacity to generate 196 megawatts of electricity, about 6 percent of EKPC’s total generating capacity.
“Dale Station was East Kentucky Power Cooperative’s first power plant,” said Tony Campbell, EKPC’s President and CEO. “This plant has been a reliable workhorse, generating the electricity that powered many thousands of Kentucky homes and businesses over the past 60 years. It provided light and heat to many families. And it has been an engine of economic development, providing reliable, affordable power throughout Central and Eastern Kentucky. We owe a debt of gratitude to the many dedicated employees who kept Dale Station running all those years, as well as the local community, which has been so supportive.”
In recent years, Dale Station has been operated on a limited basis due to economic factors. Often, it has been more affordable to operate other plants or purchase power from the market, particularly since EKPC’s 2013 integration into PJM Interconnection, which provided ready access to competitively priced power.
Most of Dale Station’s employees have been moved to positions at other plants over the past year.
“We are pleased that EKPC has been able to offer continued employment for our dedicated, talented and experienced employees,” Campbell said. “We all appreciate their support, and the support of their families, as we move through this transition.”
In addition to the electric generating units, Dale Station also is the site of electric transmission facilities, including power lines and a switchyard, which are integral to the operation of the regional electric grid. Those transmission facilities will continue to operate after the generating units are deactivated.
EKPC’s other coal-fueled power plants will comply with the MATS rule. In the past decade, EKPC constructed two of the cleanest coal-fueled units in the nation at Spurlock Station in Maysville. Two older Spurlock units and the largest unit at Cooper Station in Burnside have been retrofitted with scrubbers and other emission-control equipment in recent years. EKPC plans to tie a smaller unit at Cooper Station into the plant’s existing emission-control facilities.
SOURCE: East Kentucky Power Cooperative