Conners Creek to convert to natural gas

Detroit Edison was given permission in March to convert its coal-fired Conners Creek plant to run on natural gas. The utility has awarded Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) the $2.5m contract for the conversion.

Work on the Michigan plant was expected to start immediately and will cost Detroit Edison $11m. B&W, which supplied the original boilers in 1951, will convert them to natural gas firing using low-NOx burners and a flue gas recirculation system.

The conversion will allow the utility to meet summer peak demand. Its conversion has been authorized by an interim order issued by the US District Court of Michigan. The order requires that the plant must be operational by or before early summer of 1999.

The ruling is the preliminary outcome of a lawsuit filed by Detroit Edison, which wanted resolution of regulatory issues brought by federal and state agencies which challenged any use of the plant.

In 1998 Detroit Edison announced plans to operate the Conners Creek plant to accommodate summer demand and reduce the need of buying-in power, but faced a challenge from the Federal Environment Protection Agency.