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Economy and Business


FirstEnergy considering burning natural gas at coal plant
FirstEnergy spokesman says the possibility is not in the near future, but could be cost-effective
by WKSU's OZIE IKUENOBE

Reporter
Ozie Ikuenobe
 

FirstEnergy is considering converting a coal burning power plant in Western Pennsylvania to burn natural gas, but it could be a while before similar changes happen in Ohio.

FirstEnergy Spokesman Mark Durbin says the switch makes sense at the Pennsylvania plant because of the proximity of a natural gas pipeline.

Durbin on natural gas

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“And that’s a key issue because it costs a lot of money to extend the natural gas pipelines. So the fact that this pipeline is currently very close to the plant, that’s a key reason why it makes it a little more cost-effective for us to do that.”

Durbin says the shale gas boom has driven down the price of natural gas to the point where co-generation with coal makes sense.  

But he says the cost of adding new gas pipelines is $4 to $5 million dollars per mile, which means right now the conversion is not being considered for plants in Ohio. 

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