Kansas City Power & Light Company (KCP&L) will no longer burn coal at three of its coal-fired power plants. This announcement furthers the company’s commitment to a sustainable energy future and balanced generation portfolio.
Lake Road’s boiler already has the ability to burn natural gas and the company plans to operate on natural gas once it ceases coal combustion. In the coming years, KCP&L will make final decisions regarding whether to retire the units at Montrose and Sibley, or convert them to an alternative fuel source.
“After evaluating options for future environmental regulation compliance, ending coal use at these plants is the most cost effective and cleanest option for our customers,” said Terry Bassham, President and CEO of Great Plains Energy and KCP&L. “By retiring or converting more than 700 megawatts of coal-fired generation, we’ll take an even bigger step toward reducing emissions and improving the air quality in our region.”
The decision comes in part as a result from recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, which would require KCP&L to make significant environmental upgrades in the coming years in order to continue burning coal at these power plants. While retrofitting our largest, newer coal-fired power plants was the most cost-effective way to comply with environmental regulations, the same cannot be said for the older, smaller units at Montrose, Lake Road and Sibley. Retiring or converting the units at Montrose, Lake Road and Sibley will be a more cost-effective way to meet environmental regulations.
One of its units at Lake Road Station will cease coal production by 2016; one at Montrose Station will also cease by 2016; two of its units at Sibley Station will cease coal burning by 2019; and two additional units at Montrose Station will cease coal burning by 2021.
While this decision will impact employees at Montrose, Lake Road and Sibley, the utility does not anticipate that any employees will lose jobs as a result. KCP&L will find job opportunities within the company for displaced employees.
“For decades, coal has been a reliable, very low cost way to provide power to our customers, and is one reason why our rates are lower than the national average,” said Bassham. “However, as our nation moves to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future, our industry is facing increasing environmental scrutiny and regulations, many of which are focused on coal-fired generation. Our commitment and focus is to move to a cleaner energy future for our region while balancing the cost impact to our customers.”
This announcement is part of the utility’s larger plan to provide cleaner energy to the region. KCP&L has the largest renewable energy and largest per capita energy efficiency portfolios of any investor-owned utility in the region. In addition, the utility recently made a number of new environmental investments and commitments, including the announcement of up to 400 MW of additional wind power and expanded energy-efficiency programs for customers.
For more information on KCP&L’s sustainability efforts, visit www.kcpl.com/environment.