SunCoke plant progressing

By Wayne Allen

Officials with SunCoke Energy South Shore, LLC., said this week they have obtained all of the necessary permits to construct an electric generating plant in Greenup County, Ky.

According to the released information, the 90-megawatt electric generating plant is anticipated to cost $450 million and have 100 to 120 employees, with an annual payroll of roughly $9 million. The plant will be built on 250 acres along the Ohio River, two miles northeast of South Shore.

SunCoke Energy South Shore, a subsidiary of SunCoke Energy Inc., produces coke for use in steelmaking. Coke production involves heating coal to drive off volatile compounds, leaving behind a material that is pure carbon.

Once constructed the plant will capture and burn compounds to produce steam, which will a turbine to generate electricity. The plant would have the ability to generate up to 90 megawatts of electric, but will likely produce between 40 to 80 megawatts for sale on the open market.

“We’ve got the permits and we’re trying to secure customer commitments before we break any ground,” said Steve Carlson, spokesman for SunCoke Energy Inc., “Once we get between 60 and 70 percent of the commitments from customers, we’ll be able to start moving on it.”

He said there has been no timeline established for starting construction, but the company remains committed to the project. Construction of the plant is anticipated to require 600 workers with total construction wages and benefits of $150 million. Suncoke said they intend to hire as many Kentucky workers as possible during construction and in the operation of the plant.

In February, the Kentucky State Board of Electric Generation and Transmission Sitting granted the project a construction certificate, the sitting board directed SunCoke to work towards mitigating the impact of the plant. Among the advised steps include a green belt around the site and lighting that will make the plant less visible at night. The sitting board also approved the construct of a power transmission line that will connect the plant to the American Electric Power substation in New Boston.

SunCoke Energy also operates a facility in Franklin Furnace that has 200 coke ovens and employs about 200 people.

This story originally appeared in the Portsmouth Daily Times.

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT