Coal Age

MAR 2017

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March 2017 17 coal-fired power continued "efficient" and cost-effective. Once built, debugged and perfected, Polk 1 proved the "technical viability of the technology if not the economic viability," Sarkus said. "The plants are more expensive in terms of cap- ital costs and operations and management costs." Inflated costs can be a demon difficult to exorcize. Trials, Tribulations, Turnarounds The cheapest lessons are those learned second hand. In that spirit, TECO shared experiences and ideas with Duke Energy, parent company of the Edwardsport, In- diana, IGCC project. "The learnings from Polk were transported into a lot of what Edwardsport has done and what GE did with that design. They added some things that were different and a little more com- plex," Hornick said. "We help each other out. They've learned some stuff from us and we've learned some stuff from them." Edwardsport came online in June 2013 and on paper gasifies 1.7 million-1.9 mil- lion tons of coal per year in generating 618 MW of base load electricity, according to the NETL. "It is based on the GE Energy 'Reference Plant' design; main units con- sist of two GE gasifiers in parallel, two GE 7FB combustion turbines in parallel (232 MW each), and one GE steam turbine (320 MWe)," the NETL reported. "The IGCC plant replaces a now demolished 160-MW coal-fired power plant at the site. The new IGCC plant is cleaner than the old plant while providing more power; SO x , NO x , and particulate emissions are well under new source limits." The plant was designed to later enable carbon capture. What it did in the beginning was enable controversy. First there were cost overruns. The original price tag was set at $1.9 billion but incrementally levitated to $3.5 bil- lion. Next the environmentalists circled, wanting to reveal the government's hand in the game. Finally, there was scandal, as government officials were terminated over ethics charges and company personnel were fired over mismanagement and con- flicts of interest. Most recently, the compa- ny settled in court to, among other things, refund customers $87.8 million. The first couple of years were plagued by technical difficulties, preventing the plant from operating at expected capac- ity for the majority of the time. However, that appears to be history as the plant has achieved some goals that bode well for the future, spokeswoman Angeline Protogere said. "In August when it was hot and power was in demand, the plant's gasifier had an availability level of about 90%," she said. "Also during the cold weather of Febru- ary 2016, the gasifier had an availability of 100%." Further, the site "has completed a record run of 97.8 days on a single gasifier (Train 1), and a record run of 63.8 days of dual gasifier operation," Protogere said. Mississippi Power's Kemper County Energy Facility, which was declared "op- erational" in early January, has trodden a similar path. It is the largest IGCC power plant in the world, making its debut a first. It is situated on a coal mine with estimated reserves at 4 billion tons, and "will convert 12,000 tons of local Mississippi low-rank

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