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Paducah Officials ‘Not Sweating Prairie State’s Lower Output’

April 24, 2015

Executives at Paducah Power System say they will stay the course on their commitment to Prairie State Energy Campus, the costly and poorly performing coal-fired power plant.

In an article in this morning’s Paducah Sun, David Zoeller quotes PPS officials as being largely unmoved by worries that the plant is a drain on the economic vitality of the area. Zoeller also has a Prairie State spokesperson saying recent outages at the plant are of no concern.

The article has PPS hedging its bet, however, on a plan by American Municipal Power, one of the central Prairie State owners, to improve costs: “According to (Dave Carroll, PPS director of finance and administration) preliminary results of AMP’s efforts show improvement, but there is not enough data yet to determine whether the projected savings will be achieved.”

Additional excerpts:

  • “In an article this month, David Schlissel, IEEFA’s director of resource planning analysis, said Prairie State has failed in its promise to the 200 communities that have invested in it. ‘The promise went like this: the plant would operate at 85 percent capacity, providing a reliable source of electricity to its many member towns and cities, and it would provide electricity at competitive prices. The ugly and undeniable truth that has emerged over time, however, is that Prairie State Energy Campus has done neither. Its failure can be documented year by year in two ways: by its capacity-factor performance and its disastrous record in living up to its promise of providing low-cost electricity.’”
  • Gary Zheng

    Gary Zheng

    “Prairie State began operating in June of 2012, and ended 2012 with an overall capacity factor of 65 percent. In 2013, it had a plant capacity factor of 59 percent. The 2014 capacity factor was 75.5 percent. Don Gaston, Prairie State’s new CEO, told the Paducah Power board in late January the capacity factor for 2015 ‘is expected to be above 80 percent.’”

  • “Gary Zheng, PPS’ new general manager, said Gaston and his new management team are focused on providing better reliability for its owners/investors. ‘The new management is far better than what we had before,’ Zheng said. ‘They are really addressing the fundamental issues that we feel will mean better results for us long term.’”

Full article (subscription required).

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