FirstEnergy working to maintain certain rights at shut Hatfield coal plant in Pennsylvania

FirstEnergy says this is not part of a plan to actually re-activate the plant

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An October 2014 request by FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) related to its big Hatfield (also known as Hatfield's Ferry) coal plant in Pennsylvania, which was shut in the fall of 2013, is working its way through the PJM Interconnection queue system.

Said a February 2015 PJM study on this request: "This Feasibility Study report provides the documentation of an assessment that has been performed by PJM Interconnection and FirstEnergy (FE) in response to a request made by (the Interconnection Customer (IC) for the connection of a 1710 MW Coal Fire Generation (AA1-070) facility to the West Penn System.

"In compliance with the Regional Transmission Expansion Planning (RTEP) protocol, Interconnection Customer has submitted a 'Generation Interconnection Feasibility Study Agreement' to PJM (see Attachment 8) that identifies its plan to re-open Hatfield Power Station with a total capability of 1710 MW (1590 MW capacity.) For purposes of this report, it has been designated as the “Hatfield 500 kV Project” (hereinafter, the 'Project'). The IC has requested the study of the existing Hatfield Power Station. The Hatfield Power Station is an existing facility connected to the FE system through the Hatfield 500 kV Substation.

"The Queue Project AA1-070 was studied as a 1710.0 MW (Capacity 1590.0 MW) injection at the Hatfield 500 kV substation in the APS area. Project AA1-070 was evaluated for compliance with applicable reliability planning criteria (PJM, NERC, NERC Regional Reliability Councils, and Transmission Owners). Project AA1-070 was studied with a commercial probability of 53%."

FirstEnergy in the fall of 2013 deactivated both its Hatfield and Mitchell coal plants in Pennsylvania. The affected units were: Hatfield’s Ferry Units 1-3, 530 MW each; and Mitchell Unit 2 (82 MW) and Mitchell Unit 3 (277 MW).

Citing low market prices and the compliance costs for ever-toughening environmental standards, FirstEnergy said in July 2013 that it planned to deactivate these two coal plants by that fall. The company said the total capacity of these plants is 2,080 MW, representing approximately 10% of the company's total generating capacity, but about 30% of the estimated $925m cost to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), which went into initial effect in April of this year.

Said FirstEnergy spokesperson Stephanie Walton in a May 8 e-mail, in response to an inquiry from Generation Hub: "While we currently have no plans to restart the Hatfield’s Ferry Power Station, FirstEnergy has requested an extension for injection rights as part of its ongoing ownership and maintenance of the property and its assets. Injection rights are permission to place electricity onto the grid, and are authorized by the grid operator, PJM Interconnection. These rights can automatically expire after a plant deactivation, but can be extended by PJM. FirstEnergy is seeking an extension of this permit at Hatfield’s Ferry. This extension request is not an indication that FirstEnergy has current plans to re-activate the plant or sell it to be operated as a power plant."

Barry Cassell
About the Author

Barry Cassell

Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 26 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.

Barry can be reached at barryc@pennwell.com.

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