Centralia Power Plant
||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (August 2013)|
|Centralia Big Hanaford power plant|
|Location||Lewis County, near Centralia, Washington, United States|
|Commission date||2002 (gas), 1972 (coal)|
|Primary fuel||natural gas, subbituminous coal|
Centralia Big Hanaford power plant is a major coal-fired power plant supplemented with newer natural-gas-fired units. It is located east of Centralia, Washington, United States in Lewis County. As of 2006, it is the only commercial coal-fired power plant in Washington State. A deal struck in early 2011 will result in both coal boilers being shut down by 2025.
The two identical coal-fired generating units have a combined capacity of 1,340 MW. Both units started up for commercial operation in August 1971. (Bonneville Power Administration 1980 EIS)
In 2011, a deal was struck between the plant owner and operator, TransAlta, and local environmentalists to shut down the coal boilers. The first would be shut down in 2020, and the second in 2025, with a schedule of emissions reductions to be met along the way. The Washington State Senate approved the deal with a 36-13 vote.
In 2002, the plant capacity was supplemented with five natural gas-fired units. Four of them are 50-MWegas turbine (GT) units, and the fifth is an 68-MWe steam cycle unit. The entire arrangement is known as combined cycle 4-on-1 where the exhaust from the 4 GT's creates steam via Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSGs) to power a single steam turbine.
Seventy percent of subbituminous coal used by the plant was delivered by truck from the nearby Centralia Coal Mine, which was a strip mine and the largest coal mine in the state of Washington, until it closed down on November 27, 2006. Currently, the coal is delivered by rail from Montana and Wyoming. Recent rail upgrades to the Centralia Power Plant, and SO2 scrubber upgrades to ensure plant releases less pollution, will ensure the plant runs for at least another 15-20 years. Centralia currently burns nine 110 car coal trains a week.
Environmental and public impacts
Annually, this coal plant emits 350 pounds of mercury pollution, making it the state's largest single source of mercury pollution. Mercury pollution is a bio cumulative neuro-toxin which causes brain damage in humans and is especially dangerous for children and pregnant or nursing mothers.  
All of the mining area is currently being reclaimed. When TransAlta bought the plant in 2000, it agreed to reduce emissions. It installed US $200 million worth of scrubbers on the plant, which were purchased from ABB Environmental Systems. Between 2010 and 2012 the Centralia Power Plant has been offline for an average of 4 months of each year. In March 2009, a proposed agreement between TransAlta and the Washington Department of Ecology was announced, regarding a significant step forward in improving air quality in Washington State. Key to the agreement is TransAlta’s willingness to voluntarily reduce mercury emissions by at least 50 percent by 2012 to address air quality concerns in the region. Capture testing took place in 2009 and an activated injection product was selected. The process will cost US$20 to $30 million over the next several years. Additionally, continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS) for mercury measurement was certified by the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC). Currently, neither Washington State nor the U.S. federal government has regulations in place for mercury emission reductions. As part of the same agreement between TransAlta and the Washington Department of Ecology, TransAlta agreed to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) by 20 percent beginning in 2009. This is two to five years earlier than TransAlta would have been required to reduce NOx emissions if an agreement had not been reached with the Department of Ecology. In 2012, Selective Non Catalytic Reduction (SNCR) system was installed to further reduce NOx at a cost of almost $20M. It is in the commissioning and testing phase through 2014. owner of Centralia plant and Washington State Ecology.
Contractors for the power plant
From the early 1970s until 2000, the plant was owned by eight utilities: PacifiCorp (47.5%), Avista Energy (15%), Seattle City Light (8%), Snohomish County PUD (8%), Tacoma Power (8%), Puget Sound Energy (7%), Grays Harbor County PUD (4%), and Portland General Electric (2.5%).
Plans to sell the plant began in 1998. In 2000, Portland General Electric sold its 2.5 percent share to Avista Energy, shortly before the plant was sold in its entirety to TransAlta Corporation for $554 million that same year.
- "Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2006" (Excel). Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy. 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
- "TransAlta Agrees to Phase Out Coal Plant". PubliCola.com. March 9, 2011.
- “Centralia mine to close, putting 600 out of work,” Puget Sound Business Journal, Nov. 28, 2006. Retrieved on 30 January 2009.
- http://www.transalta.com/2009rs/environment/emissions/ and http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/air/TransAlta/Final_agreement/Transalta_signed_agreement.pdf
- Tucker, Libby (28-AUG-06). "Concrete strike has hidden benefit for NW construction industry.". Daily Journal of Commerce, Portland. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
- “State allows sale of three private utilities' share in Centralia coal plant,” Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, Mar. 6, 2000
- “Centralia power plant sold for $554M,” Puget Sound Business Journal, May 5, 2000
- “Coal-plant sale was good idea at the time,” Seattle Times, Mar. 20, 2001
- “Utah agency stalls sale of aging Centralia power plant,” Daily Journal of Commerce, Apr. 13, 2000