Coal Age

SEP 2018

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September 2018 11 news continued $50 million on improvements over the next five years to keep the plant open. Big Rivers Electric Corp., a generation and transmission co-op also headquartered in Henderson, has operated Station Two for decades under a contractual arrangement with the city. But Big Rivers told the Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) earlier this year that Station Two had reached its useful life and, as a result, the co-op wants to end its longstanding contractual relationship with the city. Instead of disputing Big Rivers' claims, however, HMP&L informed the PSC it essential- ly agreed with the co-op and will not oppose Big Rivers' intent to stop running Station Two when the operating agreement ends on May 31, 2019. The municipal utility had considered issuing a formal request for proposals this summer for another potential operator for Station Two. Instead, HMP&L plans to release a solicitation seeking a replacement for the approxi- mately 100 MW of power it currently uses from Station Two. Under its current arrangement, Big Rivers has been able to sell on the wholesale market any power not needed by the city. "We're probably going to shut the plant down," HMP&L's general manager, Chris Heimgartner, said about Station Two. He acknowledged it is possible that other coal-fired generators could respond to the RFP. On the eastern side of Kentucky, the prognosis is consider- ably brighter for Cooper, whose two units went into commer- cial operation in 1965 and 1969, respectively. EKPC spokesman Nick Comer said his Winchester-based G&T regards Cooper as an important part of the co-op's generating fleet. "We expect Cooper station to remain viable for years to come," he said. Like many smaller coal plants in the region, Cooper has, however, been affected by the influx of renewable energy and low natural gas prices in recent years. As a result, Cooper gen- erally has not been dispatched as often as it has been in the past. What may have saved Cooper, at least for the time being, is EKPC's completion of a $15 million project two years ago that enabled sulfur-dioxide emissions from the plant's Unit 1 to be removed by a scrubber installed on Unit 2. Nipsco Using Railcar Fleet This Summer to Transport Coal to Power Plants Northern Indiana Public Service Co. said it has been using all of its railcar fleet this summer to transport steam coal to its 1,780-megawatt (MW ) R.M. Schahfer and 480-MW Michigan City coal-burning power plants. In a late August filing with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, Nipsco's fuel supply manager, John Wagner, said the NiSource Inc. subsidiary has 1,351 railcars used to support 10 unit trains — approximately 125 cars per train, plus 8% spares needed to support maintenance of the fleet. By the end of June, Nipsco was deploying 100% of its railcar fleet, he said, mainly because of "significantly high- Spring Creek Mine Receives National Association of State Land Reclamationists Award Cloud Peak Energy's Spring Creek mine, located near Decker, Mon- tana, received the 2018 Outstanding Reclamation Award from the National Association of State Land Reclamationists (NASLR) for effec- tive reclamation and innovative practices. The award was presented at the NASLR annual conference in Williamsburg, Virginia, on Sep- tember 10. Reclamation plans at the Spring Creek mine incorporate a mo- saic of livestock grazing, pastureland and wildlife habitats into the post-mining environment. These habitats support a host of wildlife, including the western sage-grouse. "Actions to protect wildlife are of significant importance to all of our operations," said Colin Marshall, Cloud Peak Energy's president and CEO. "The innovative techniques used at the Spring Creek mine are a perfect example of our continuous improvements and focus on environmental stewardship." Efforts to promote area sage-grouse populations are focused on two separate programs, restoring sage-grouse habitat and add- ing multiple mitigation features. "The sagebrush densities we restore go above and beyond regulatory requirements," said David Schwend, Spring Creek's general manager. "Coupled with additional mitigation features, these successful practices recognized by this award highlight our commitment to reclamation and wildlife conservation." Spring Creek mined and shipped approximately 12.6 million tons of low-sulfur coal in 2017, which includes 4.2 million tons of exports to Asian customers through the Westshore terminal in British Columbia, Canada. In 2017, the Spring Creek mine was recognized by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement and re- ceived the 2017 Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Award for enhanced reclamation success through the diversity of topography, soil and vegetation. % a w a r d s Pictured above: Reclaimed sagebrush steppe habitat at the Spring Creek mine. Reclaimed lands provide exceptional sage-grouse habitat with sage density exceeding regulatory requirements.

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