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AEP officially retires Sporn Unit 5, online in 1960

by on March 2, 2012
Sporn Plant’s Unit 5 was retired February 13, with AEP notifying PJM Interconnection the unit would no longer be available for use.

(Story by TJ Meadows)

NEW HAVEN, W.Va. — AEP on February 13 officially retired Sporn Plant Unit 5 notifying PJM Interconnection the unit would no longer be available for use. Prior to that, AEP had reclassified Sporn 5 as an extended startup unit. The unit had not run since March 2010.

Sporn Plant employees continued to maintain the unit even after the company reclassified it to extended startup status. Plant Manager Debra Osborne said that has changed.

“Up until the unit was officially retired, we were performing all duties required to meet the regulations of a running unit,” Osborne said. “With the official retirement declaration, we are now working with internal groups and external agencies to cease activities which are no longer required.

While employees are no longer maintaining the unit to an operable condition, the company has taken steps to ensure that Sporn 5 is safe and environmentally sound, even in retirement.

“We’ve developed a policy (Job Hazard Analysis) for safe entry and tracking degradation, removed PBC transformers from the precipitators, drained oil tanks and removed any other chemicals from the unit among other things,” Osborne said.

These measures are standard procedure to mitigate any environmental hazards a retired unit might pose.

Osborne also said the process is a collaborative effort.

“Stores and asset management are working with us to reclassify, sell or scrap spare parts. Other groups continue to become involved as the decommissioning process moves forward,” Osborne said.

The company originally slated the unit for closure in December 2013 as part of the New Source Review settlement. But after an assessment of the unit’s condition, AEP moved Sporn 5 to a forced outage condition on September 6, 2011, meaning it was no longer offered into the PJM market for capacity and / or energy. 

Sporn 5 was one of the first supercritical-design generating units AEP installed. When installed, it was 73 percent larger than any generating unit then in operation. It came online in 1960, providing an additional 450 megawatts (MW) to the 600 MWs already generated by Units 1, 2, 3 and 4. Those units came online from 1949 to 1952.

Sporn Unit 5 operated at a main steam pressure of 3,550 psi, and main steam temperature of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Its steam generator delivered 3.1 million pounds of steam per hour.

Sporn units 1 and 4 are on extended startup status.

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