Black Hills awards $100 million coal-fired power plant contract

Black Hills Corp. has awarded Babcock & Wilcox Co., a subsidiary of McDermott International Inc., a $100 million design-build contract for Wygen Unit 1, an 80 Mw coal-fired power plant near Gillette, Wyoming.

Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) said the plant will be the only new-capacity pulverized coal-fired power plant under contract in the US.

Wygen will be the fourth coal-fired plant at Black Hill's energy complex which includes the 80 Mw Neil Simpson Unit 2. The 330 Mw Wyodak Unit 1, owned primarily by PacifiCorp, was completed in 1978. The new unit will consume 500,000 tonnes/year of low-sulfur sub-bituminous coal from Wyodak mine, operated by Wyodak Resources Development Corp. It is scheduled for operation in July 2003.

The construction of Wygen Unit I highlights the critical role of coal as a fuel for electric power expansion programs, especially with the high cost and uncertainty of natural gas, said B&W Pres. James F. Wood. "We expect Wygen Unit I to be a strong reference plant for future power development projects in North America and the world."

Wygen Unit 1 will feature a B&W pulverized-coal-fired boiler producing 778,000 lb/hr of superheated steam at 1005� F. and 1620 psi of pressure.

B&W will design, manufacture, and construct all major emissions control equipment, including its dry scrubbing system that features a patented spray absorption process for sulfur dioxide removal. Additionally, B&W will design and supply the selective catalytic reduction system for post-combustion nitrogen oxides (NOx) control, and a fabric filter baghouse for particulate removal. B&W said the boilers feature its latest design of ultralow NOx burners and overfire air systems.

Earlier, Black Hills said it expected to report record fourth quarter earnings of 80-90�/share, up from 50�/share in the year earlier period. The company attributed its strong performance to its independent energy unit and increased wholesale electric sales. The Rapid City, SD,-based company said it expected to post earnings of $2.33-$2.43/share for the year ended Dec. 31, 2000, up from $1.73/share in 1999. A portion of the increased earnings can be attributed to unusual conditions in western gas and electricity markets that may not recur, the company said in a news release.

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