Buckeye Power, Inc. (BPI) is the generation and transmission (G&T) cooperative that is jointly owned by the 25 electric distribution cooperatives in Ohio (24 of the cooperatives are based in the state and get their electricity from Buckeye Power; another, Midwest Energy Cooperative, based in Cassopolis, MI, serves about 1,000 members in sections of Fulton and Williams counties in northwestern Ohio.)
Today’s energy market requires a balance between environmental concern and the ability to meet future demand for electricity while ensuring that power remains reliable and affordable. We believe technology, efficiency, and conservation are crucial paths toward ensuring the electricity needs of nearly 400,000 homes and businesses served by member-owned electric cooperatives in Ohio. We have successfully dealt with economic and legislative challenges by always keeping the best interests of our member systems and their consumers at the forefront. Recently, several projects were completed – and several more were started – that position Buckeye to advance energy and environmental goals.
Buckeye’s flagship Cardinal Power Station is a “best in class” world performer in reduction of emissions – sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury, and particulates – with the completion of flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems. Buckeye owns two units at the Cardinal Station – Unit No. 2, rated at 600 megawatts (MW), and Unit No. 3, rated at 630 MW – and Ohio Power Company, an affiliate of American Electric Power (AEP), owns Unit 1.
The $300-million project, launched four years ago, removes approximately 98 percent of sulfur dioxide (SO2) produced in the generation process. SO2 is a cause of acid rain and associated with the use of high-sulfur coal at power plants. The addition of these scrubbers means the Cardinal plant is able to reduce emissions while using Ohio coal, meaning jobs and economic benefits for eastern Ohio and the region.
A co-benefit is that by having FGD and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems in series at Cardinal, mercury can also be effectively removed from the flue gas. Investment at Unit 2 and Unit 3 will improve environmental performance and generation efficiencies. Cardinal continues to be the primary source of low-cost base load electricity for Buckeye members. The facility has been updated and is well maintained. A 2004 engineering report forecasted the useful life of the station to at least 2040.
Buckeye also owns 417-MW of coal-fired base load generation with its partial ownership in Ohio Valley Electric Corporation (OVEC) and an entitlement to the power from OVEC’s Kyger Creek and Clifty Creek power stations.
Buckeye is diversifying its generation mix by acquiring additional capacity from both traditional and alternative energy sources. Buckeye entered into agreements to purchase all the electricity generated by two renewable energy projects. The Bridgewater Dairy and Wenning Poultry Farm animal waste anaerobic biodigesters are the first of their kind in Ohio. These projects are expected to provide 2-3 megawatts of green power, enough energy to supply up to 1,200 homes with electriciity.
Buckeye also owns two natural gas-fired peaking power plants. Construction was completed in 2002 on National Power Cooperative, Inc.’s 510-MW Robert P. Mone Station, which provides Ohio’s electric cooperatives and their member-consumers with continued access to economical and reliable electric power. Buckeye added a second peaking unit in 2007 when it purchased the Greenville Station near Greenville, Ohio, a 200-MW facility featuring four gas-fired turbines.
Buckeye’s growing generation portfolio also includes a 55-MW entitlement from the New York Power Authority. This hydroelectric power was added in 2004.
Finally, in 2008 Buckeye Power joined the National Renewables Cooperative Organization (NRCO), a “super cooperative” tasked with finding viable renewable energy projects and making green power available to its members. NRCO includes generation and transmission co-ops and distribution cooperatives in multiple states that serve more than 22 million consumers. The first benefit of this partnership allowed Buckeye to purchase 30-MW of power from a 150-MW Story County, Iowa wind farm.
In addition to providing a source of competitively priced and reliable electric power to its member-cooperatives, Buckeye Power also provides other services. Buckeye provides engineering services to its cooperative members and assists them with load management.
A comprehensive consumer attitude research program coordinated by Buckeye’s marketing department helps to better understand how the cooperatives are viewed and how the members of the cooperative think about issues such as service satisfaction. It also provides information on the types of products and services which interest co-op members.
Buckeye’s marketing department also promotes the use of new, energy-efficient technologies such as compact fluorescent lighting and geothermal heating and cooling. It’s energy advisor program assists the local cooperatives with expert advice to pass on to members.
Buckeye also promotes economic development as a means of retaining existing businesses and attracting new businesses into member co-ops’ service territories. A professional development staff assists in the selection of sites, offers guidance for state and federal incentive packages and helps bring together all parties necessary to complete a deal. The staff also assists the member-cooperatives in infrastructure and site improvements and developing programs to attract businesses.