JEFFERSON CITY, MO. – The last of the coal on site at Chamois Power Plant has been burned, and the final generator came off line at 2:49 a.m. today. The last day of work for the plant employees will be Sept. 30, 2013. Owner of the plant, Central Electric Power Cooperative headquartered in Jefferson City, has contracted to sell the plant to Associated Electric Cooperative and anticipates transfer of ownership Oct. 9, 2013.
Central Electric Power Cooperative issued this news release Sept. 17, 2013
Contact: Don Shaw
Central Electric Power Cooperative ceases electricity generation at Chamois Power Plant
JEFFERSON CITY, MO. – The last of the coal on site at Chamois Power Plant has been burned, and the final generator came off line at 2:49 a.m. today. The last day of work for the plant employees will be Sept. 30, 2013. Owner of the plant, Central Electric Power Cooperative headquartered in Jefferson City, has contracted to sell the plant to Associated Electric Cooperative and anticipates transfer of ownership Oct. 9, 2013. Associated intends to complete an analysis of options for the final decommissioning of the site and plant. The Chamois Power Plant is located just outside of Chamois, Mo., in Osage County.
After reviewing the economics of continued operation of Chamois Power Plant, the board of directors of Central Electric reached a decision in March 2013 to cease operations at the plant this year. The Central Electric board of directors reached this decision after considering the impact of increasing costs from upcoming environmental regulations, higher fuel delivery costs and needed on-site improvements for coal shipment, slower member load growth and lower natural gas prices.
Through a contractual arrangement between Central Electric and Springfield, Mo.-based Associated Electric Cooperative (AECI), expenses for the plant have been paid by AECI since 1962 in exchange for full use of the plant. AECI also is Central Electric’s wholesale power supplier.
Chamois Unit 1 was built in 1953, and a second unit was added in 1960. It is the oldest and smallest of AECI’s coal-fired generation resources. In recent years, the Chamois plant has provided a small percentage of the electricity AECI needed to supply 875,000 consumer-members in Missouri, Oklahoma and Iowa, including all of those in Central Electric’s service area.
Some plant employees have accepted jobs at AECI; others have opted to accept a severance package commensurate with their years of service.
A major factor affecting the economic viability of the Chamois plant was the environmental regulations requiring further controls at an estimated $14 million capital cost, as well as a $3 million dollar rail spur upgrade and increased annual operating costs.
Growth rate in AECI member electric loads, which has slowed during the last few years, is another factor. AECI has other power plants that can supply members’ electricity needs at a lower cost, including two 600-MW coal-fired plants at New Madrid, Mo., and a second 1,153-MW, coal-fired facility at Thomas Hill Energy Center near Moberly, Mo. AECI also supplies power from natural gas, wind and hydroelectric sources.
Finally, the natural gas market has changed significantly in the last several years. AECI has more than 2,700 megawatts of high-efficiency natural gas capacity. With lower gas prices and more generators available to operate with natural gas, AECI has more flexibility to achieve the lowest cost of electricity for co-op members.
Central Electric, AECI and their member systems are tied together in a unique, three-tiered system of generation, transmission and distribution cooperatives. The top tier of the three-tiered system is made up of 51 local distribution cooperatives that provide electric service directly to member-consumers, including businesses, farms and households.
At the second level of the system, Central Electric and five other regional transmission cooperatives, transmit power from AECI’s power plants to the distribution cooperatives.
Central Electric and the other five regional G&Ts formed AECI, the system’s third tier, in the early 1960s to provide generation, power procurement and extra-high-voltage transmission lines.