Cleantechnology and Sustainable Industries Summit

Roy M. Palk, President

New Horizons Consulting

2221 Broadhead Place

Lexington, KY 40515


Traditional Power Generation Panel

Considerations for Choosing Circulating Fluidized Bed Technology

Choosing a generating technology in today’s energy world is, more and more, becoming a strategic decision rather than just an economic choice. Present and future power supply decisions will include several factors beyond just connecting a power plant to a load with a transmission line. Some of those selection factors are; 1. operating reliability, 2.environmental impacts and permitting, economics and size-of-unit risks, 4.rate impact, 5.fuel diversity and, 6.project financing. East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) chose circulating fluidized bed (CFB) technology for its’ expansion program because that technology performed well in all categories.

The following points will further explain EKPC’s thought process for making the selection. Allow me to preface any points by saying the utilities in Kentucky are stringently regulated by the public service commission and the attorney general’s office under its’ consumer protection authority and all of these criteria were parts of their review and approval process.

  1. Operating reliability: EKPC personnel visited three locations where CFB plants were in already in operation prior to choosing the technology. They were operating at around a 90% availability factor.
  2. Environmental impacts and permitting: Actual emissions data are on target with original specifications. And the direct injection of lime into the boiler is an excellent “front-end” method of controlling NOx.
  3. Construction economics and size-of-unit risks: The per kw installed cost are very competitive in the marketplace when compared to other units within the EKPC control area. Thus the dispatch costs are rate friendly, $18.00/mwh. The 268-278 mw size fits well with EKPC’s other units’ sizes and balances supply capacity with not over building.
  4. Rate impact: Because of the factors described in number 3 above the wholesale power costs from the CFB units substantially lower EKPC’s average costs when blended with the other units.
  5. Fuel diversity: The CFB boilers will burn different coal types, even high sulfur coal at a cheaper price. Too, if permitted, the units will also burn other carbon-based fuels mixed with the coal.
  6. Project financing: The advantages in items 1-6 above have allowed for permitting ease and, thus, a revenue stream. Financing follows accordingly.

In conclusion, the CFB technology choice has proven to be a good one for all the above reasons and more for which time will not allow discussions. Unless EKPC’s future plans change, there will be two more CFB units constructed in the next few years.

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