- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Several new environmental regulations have prompted the city of Columbia to stop burning coal at its power plant in mid-October.

The Columbia Municipal Power Plant produces about 6 percent of the city’s power supply, the Columbia Daily Tribune (https://bit.ly/1NxfEfu) reported. The plant employs two boilers fired by natural gas and two units fired by coal with some added wood, Water and Light Director Tad Johnson said.

City officials say the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which governs certain gas emissions and took effect this year, significantly limits the volume of pollutants the city can release from the plant. Federal regulations also stipulate that the city won’t be able to operate its two coal units at more than 10 percent capacity after January.

A plant assessment from 2012 found it would be impractical to operate the two units after that date because it’s too expensive to maintain the burners to preserve the low amount of power they would produce.

Another important development that officials say will impact the city is new Environmental Protection Agency rules that become effective in October and would change the way coal ash is handled.

Power Production Superintendent Christian Johanningmeier said the city is considering changing one or both of the two boilers to burn biomass, a switch that would help the city meet renewable energy standards.

The city is studying the boilers to determine what level of energy the units would produce after switching to biomass, and is researching the costs associated with rehabilitating the plant and one of the boilers.

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Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, https://www.columbiatribune.com


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