FirstEnergy considers conversion of some power plants
FirstEnergy Corp. may burn natural gas along with coal at some of its power plants in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, the company said on Friday.
Akron-based FirstEnergy is studying whether it makes economic sense to convert its Hatfield's Ferry plant to a natural gas co-fired setup to take advantage of the fuel's low cost, spokesman Mark Durbin said.
A natural gas co-fired plant burns up to 40 percent natural gas, Durbin said. The majority of the fuel to operate the plant would continue to be supplied by coal.
“It's located near a natural gas pipeline,” he said of the Hatfield's Ferry plant in Masontown, Fayette County.
“If you're using a large amount of natural gas you need to make sure you're close to a natural gas pipeline” because the cost of extending a pipeline can run as much as $2 million to $5 million a mile, he said.
If the study of Hatfield's Ferry makes sense, Durbin said the company will also conduct feasibility studies at two other coal-fired plants in Western Pennsylvania: Bruce Mansfield in Shippingport and Mitchell Power Station in Courtney.
It also could consider converting two West Virginia plants: Pleasants Power Station in Willow Island and Harrison Power Station in Haywood.
A decision to move forward on the conversion is not expected before 2014, Durbin said.
FirstEnergy is first exploring the idea at Hatfield's Ferry because the company was planning to replace the plant's three boilders, he said.
In addition to proximity to a natural gas pipeline, the price of natural gas is also a key consideration. If the price rises above about $3 per thousand cubic feet in the next several years, then it may not be worth investing the money in co-fired boilers.
The key question, Durbin said, is: “Will the Marcellus shale and Utica shale in essence continue to flood the market and cause an oversupply?”
Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or email@example.com.
Add Alex Nixon to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 4moms CEO Daley expects major growth spurt, tenfold increase in sales
- Crazy Mocha owner likes comfort, says shrewd decisions foster growth
- Mylan investors not told of 2 land sales involving exec, partner
- Drilling impact fees may generate 15% less for Pennsylvania
- Atlantic City on hot streak with non-gambling ventures
- Investors shy from Israeli drugmaker Teva amid uncertain Mylan takeover
- After years of downsizing, big houses make comeback
- No more ‘roar’ as famed trading pits come to an end
- Farm use of drones to take off as feds loosen restrictions
- Crude oil tumble signals low gasoline prices this fall
- New J.C. Penney CEO comes from middle-income America