Rural Utilities Administrator tours state-of-the-art Ohio power plant
“Advanced scrubber technology increases job potential across a rural, three-state region”
BRILLIANT – Just as the name implies, there’s something “brilliant” happening in this rural eastern Ohio community. Jonathan Adelstein, administrator for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service, today traveled to Jefferson County to learn more about Buckeye Energy’s flagship Cardinal Power Station – perched on the cutting edge of environmental technology and considered among the cleanest coal-fired power plants in the world.
“We’ve seen so many wonderful innovations here today at the Cardinal plant,” said Adelstein. “They’ve gotten emissions down among the lowest of anywhere in the United States. They’ve innovated their way to using locally-sourced energy – Ohio coal – creating additional jobs for the region. That’s what we’re here for!”
Following the completion of a $300 million dollar environmental project to install flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems, the plant is now among world-class performers in the reduction of emissions such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and particulates. As an example, roughly 98 percent of sulfur dioxide (SO2) produced in the generation process is removed through the new scrubbers. SO2 is associated with the use of high-sulfur coal and implicated as a cause of acid rain.
The addition of the scrubbers means the Cardinal plant can utilize high-sulfur Ohio coal. This translates to jobs and long-term benefit for the economically-depressed rural region. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, coal is one of the state’s most valuable mineral resources. Found in 32 eastern Ohio counties and particularly abundant in those contiguous to the Cardinal Power Station, the coal mining industry in the state directly employs about 3,000 people. Ohio ranks seventh in estimated coal reserves with nearly 24 billion short tons. Of the 60 seams identified as potentially minable, only about 15 currently are being worked.
A cooperative jointly owned by 25 electric distribution cooperatives in Ohio, Buckeye Power has financed more than a billion dollars in projects through USDA Rural Utility Service programs since 2000. Nearly 400,000 rural homes and businesses are serviced by member-owned electric cooperatives throughout the state.