power generation

Bethany Schunn at Cardinal Power Plant

Electric power is a service that is simultaneously deeply appreciated and yet taken for granted.

Powering Ohio’s co-ops

“We all take electricity for granted, until you’re at your own house and you lose it, and then you say, ‘Where’s the power company?’” laughs Schunn, plant manager for the Cardinal Power Plant in Brilliant, a small town on the Ohio River in eastern Ohio. Cardinal’s three coal-burning units produce up to 1,800 megawatts of power at a given moment. It’s the main baseload generating plant for Buckeye Power.

Cardinal Power Plant

When we think about the people keeping our lights on, most of us think of the lineworkers who build, maintain, and repair the power lines running through our communities. Behind the scenes, though, it takes another crew of dedicated men and women to keep that power flowing — and that’s something we can all appreciate as we sit in our air-conditioned homes during the hot and humid “dog days” of summer.

During an unprecedented crisis in NASA’s Apollo program, Ohio native and Apollo 13’s flight director, Gene Kranz, looked out across his mission control room and said: “OK, let’s everybody keep cool. Let’s solve the problem, but let’s not make it any worse by guessing.”

Lightbulb

Our mission to provide you with a reliable, affordable, and environmentally responsible supply of electricity is an ever-evolving job. For example, our investment in environmental control equipment at Cardinal Plant over the years has made our waste streams cleaner than ever. It also has allowed us to beneficially re-use the combustion byproducts from our coal-fired generation facilities in a variety of useful ways.

Gypsum Landfill

The Cardinal Power Plant is difficult to miss.

A byproduct with value 

In simple terms, the act of combustion produces heat, water, and carbon dioxide, and depending on the fuel being burned — in this case, coal — there are other byproducts. 
Ohio’s electric cooperatives have invested more than 
$1 billion in environmental systems to keep most of those other byproducts contained. One such system, the scrubbers, removes sulfur dioxide and converts it to synthetic gypsum. Synthetic gypsum has many uses, and it’s a key component in wallboard used in homes and businesses.

Hourglass

Buckeye Power has been the generation and transmission supplier to Ohio’s electric cooperatives since 1968, producing electricity from power plants and delivering it across the high-voltage transmission network (or “grid”) to each of those 24 electric cooperatives. Throughout this long history, American Electric Power (AEP) has been a partner to Buckeye Power in the generation of electricity — first only at Cardinal Power Plant, but adding more facilities as time went on.

Lightbulb on chart

We are becoming all too familiar with the unpleasant reality of high inflation rates for nearly everything we buy. A significant factor in the higher cost of goods and services is the runaway price of most forms of energy — the price of crude oil, gasoline, natural gas, coal, and propane have all increased, by 30, 40, even 50% over the past year. 

Substation

The recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia is a stark reminder of what a cold, harsh place the world can be. I have no idea how bad this invasion will turn out to be. Most of us can only wait for news and pray for the safety of the Ukrainian people enduring this brutal attack.

Looking ahead 2022

As it does every year, the flip of the calendar brings both opportunities and challenges, and while our challenges for the coming year are significant, the prospects for 2022 seem exciting. The importance of Ohio’s electric cooperatives getting it right — meeting our challenges and seizing those opportunities — is as important as it’s ever been.

Judy and Larry Mercer with granddaughter, Lily.

Judy Mercer was just sitting down with her family — all 16 of them — for Thanksgiving dinner in 2014 when the lights in their house near Wingett Run suddenly went dark.

“I’ve lived in the country my whole life, so honestly, I’m used to it,” Judy says. “We were actually thankful because we knew that there were linemen already out working on the problem even by the time we called it in, but that was when we got our generator.”