BPU Eyes Second Boiler Conversion

If everything goes as planned, by this time next year, the BPU will have another coal boiler converted to burn natural gas.

On Monday, the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities discussed plans to convert coal boiler No. 9 into one that can burn both natural gas and ultra-low sulfur diesel. Last year, the BPU converted boiler No. 10 into a natural gas burner. Steve Kulig, BPU associate power plant supervisor, said the only difference between the two boiler conversions, once completed, would be the ability to also burn ultra-low sulfur diesel, but natural gas will be the primary fuel used.

The cost of the boiler conversion is estimated between $2 and $3 million. David Leathers, BPU general manager, said the first boiler conversion cost around $1.8 million. BPU officials said the project will pay for itself in three to five years because of capacity payments it will receive from the New York Independent System Operator.

Kulig said by October they will know if the project receives a final “go or no-go” from state officials. Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor, said because the BPU has already done the first conversion, there should be no obstacles in the way to convert the second boiler as well. Kulig said the state Department of Environmental Conservation is in favor of the project.

“They want us to get out of the coal business,” he said.

The first boiler converted to natural gas can generate 12-14 megawatts, and is used as a backup to the LM6000 natural gas turbine, which is the main power generator for the city-owned utility. In simple cycle, the LM6000 can produces 40-43 megawatts. In combine cycle, steam heat is used to create an additional 15 megawatts, which then totals 55-58 megawatts.

During the board meeting, the board approved resolutions to hire an environmental consultant; prepare a negative environmental impact declaration; purchased equipment and controls for the new natural gas boiler; and hired Ahlstrom Schaeffer Electric Corporation of Jamestown to supply the motor control center for the converted boiler.