APS buys Four Corners Power Plant

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Arizona Public Service finished its purchase of Southern California Edison’s ownership in Units 4 and 5 of the Four Corners Power Plant near Farmington, N.M. The final purchase price for the SCE share is about $182 million.

As part of its plan — originally announced in November 2010 — APS has permanently closed the plant’s older, less efficient Units 1, 2 and 3, and will install additional emission controls on the remaining cleaner, more efficient units.

With the closing of the APS-owned Units 1, 2 and 3, capacity at Four Corners is reduced from 2,100 MW to 1,540 MW, enabling the plant to serve half a million homes. Buying SCE’s 48 percent interest in the larger Units 4 and 5 will increase APS’s total Four Corners capacity from 791 MW to 970 MW. APS now owns 63 percent of Units 4 and 5, which constitute the plant moving forward.

Environmental benefits derived from reduced emissions and more efficient fuel use will increase. Emissions of particulates are expected to decline by 43 percent, nitrogen oxides by 36 percent, carbon dioxide by 30 percent, mercury by 61 percent and sulfur dioxide by 24 percent.

On Monday afternoon, Units 1, 2 and 3, which helped ensure a reliable supply of energy for APS customers since 1963 (Units 1 and 2) and 1964 (Unit 3), were permanently shut down in a ceremony for plant employees. Closure of the three older units by January 1, 2014, and the installation of selective catalytic reduction equipment on Units 4 and 5 by July 31, 2018, will satisfy Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) requirements for the plant issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in August 2012.

Decommissioning work, including complete dismantling and removal of the older units and any associated structures, will begin immediately and is expected to last about three years. Employees with responsibilities operating and maintaining Units 1, 2 and 3 now will focus on decommissioning activities.

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