Great Plains Power to pursue up to five coal plants

Great Plains Power Inc., Kansas City, Mo., Monday said it entered into a memorandum of understanding with Babcock & Wilcox Co. to pursue development and construction of up to five coal-fired power plants in the range of 500-900 Mw each.

Great Plains, a unregulated arm of Kansas City Power & Light Co., said it is developing several sites suitable for coal-fired generation in the Midwest. The company said its initial focus for construction will be at Weston Bend I, near Weston, Mo., where it anticipates the proposed plant will be in operation by 2005.

Formed in May, Great Plains Power is focusing on fossil-fired generation in the central US and currently has 4,100 Mw of potential development, the company said.

Both companies are collaborating on selection of a design-engineering firm to also join the alliance. Great Plains Power said it will soon issue a request for proposals for off-take contracts for capacity and energy from the Weston Bend I project.

The process will allow interested parties to participate in the project through purchase power agreements for unit contingent capacity and energy at an anticipated minimum block size of 50 Mw, Great Plains Power said.

The company previously said it has on order 385 Mw of combustion turbines to be installed in 2003 and was also performing market impact studies and seeking permitting for one or more additional coal-fired units.

Steve Easley, CEO of Great Plains Power, noted the company just finished construction of Hawthorn 5 for Kansas City Power & Light. The 550 Mw coal-fired facility was completed in 22 months, rather than the industry standard of 36 months.

Easley said Hawthorn’s boiler island, also constructed by Babcock & Wilcox, a unit of McDermott International Inc., New Orleans, La., was designed to exceed the Clean Air Act’s new source review performance standards reducing its environmental impact.

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