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Pennsylvania Waste Coal Plant to Resume Operations



By Patrick Zemanek

January 21, 2023 - A large waste coal-fired power plant in Pennsylvania will soon begin operating again, potentially alleviating concerns among market participants about the effect of its prolonged absence on the state's Tier II renewable energy certificate (REC) market.

The 525MW Seward Generation waste coal plant in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, is expected to resume operations in the coming week, a source with knowledge of the situation said today. The station, owned by Robindale Energy, is a prominent contributor to the Pennsylvania Tier II REC market, which covers in-state resources such as waste coal and large-scale hydropower generation.

Rumors that the facility had ceased operations for the winter circulated in the market yesterday, raising the possibility of future constraints on supply that could lead to higher pricing for Tier II RECs. But those fears appear unfounded. Although the Seward facility had ceased operations due to damage caused by severe winter weather over the Christmas weekend, it will soon return to service, the source said.

The Seward facility is the world's largest waste coal-fired power plant, consuming material left over from abandoned coal mining operations, according Robindale Energy. From June-October last year, its net generation totaled roughly 1.2mn MWh, according to US Energy Information Administration data.

During the same period, the PJM Interconnection issued around 2.8mn RECs to waste coal facilities in its territory, which covers 13 states and the District of Columbia.

Pennsylvania Tier II RECs this month have traded at higher prices compared with the waning days of 2022 and first week of the new year.

The 2023 vintage Tier II RECs traded this week at $20.70/MWh after trading on 10 January at $21/MWh and at $19.50/MWh on 3 January.