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Video Tells Story of Clinch River Plant’s Conversion From Coal to Natural Gas

by on April 27, 2016
Two of Clinch River Plant’s units are being brought back to life, retrofitted to produce electricity using natural gas for fuel. In a new video, the plant’s manager, Ricky Chafin, tells the story of how the plant is making the conversion from coal to natural gas.

(Story by Phil Moye)

CARBO, Va. – In 1957, Clinch River Plant began producing electricity by burning coal. That era came to an end in September 2015 when the last of the plant’s three 235-megawatt generating units shut down and the plant permanently stopped using coal as its fuel source.

Two of the plant’s units are being brought back to life, however, retrofitted to produce electricity using natural gas for fuel. In a new video, the plant’s manager, Ricky Chafin, tells the story of how the plant is making the conversion from coal to natural gas.

Chafin says as many as 400 workers at a time filled the property in the months that followed the plant’s closure, dismantling parts of the plant that were no longer needed and adding equipment necessary for the Clinch River units to operate using natural gas.

Work included running a nearly seven mile natural gas pipeline to the plant, constructing a gas conditioning unit, adding an auxiliary boiler and installing new natural gas burners. Contractors fabricated new ductwork to carry exhaust from the boiler to the stack.

Plant facilities being retired as part of the switch to natural gas include the plant’s bottom ash pond and fly ash landfill, and precipitators that previously removed particulate matter from the coal combustion flue gas stream.

On February 28, Clinch River Unit 1 provided its first power to the electric transmission grid as a natural gas-powered unit. Refinements continue on Unit 1, and Unit 2 is set to begin producing electricity later this year.

“If we had our choices, we would still be a coal-burning plant, but the regulations got to the point where we either were going to switch to natural gas or we were going to retire these units,” said Chafin. “So we decided to repower units 1 and 2, and we’re still here and still operating – just with a different fuel.”

Clinch River is the first AEP plant to be completely converted from coal to natural gas.

From → News From AEP

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