Darrell Proctor, POWER
A new coal-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, replacing old boilers in place since the 1960s, improves the efficiency of the campus’ heating and cooling system while keeping emissions in check.
Construction of a new coal-fired power plant is a rare occurrence in the U.S. Environmental regulations, which have required installation of expensive emissions control technologies at coal plants that continue to operate, along with economics—driven by an abundant supply of cheaper domestic natural gas and a continuing drop in the cost of renewable power—have meant coal today often takes a back seat to other U.S. generation resources.
But that is not always the case. In Alaska, geography plays a major role in the choice of generation technology. When the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF) began looking at options for replacing two, 50-year-old boilers at the campus, part of the Atkinson Heat and Power Plant that began service in 1964, determining the new source of power was important not only for the campus but also the entire state.