BRILLIANT, Ohio—One time a year, Cardinal Operating Plant invites its electric cooperative member owners to tour the 1-mile-long coal-fired generation facility along the Ohio River. The walking tour, open to any electric cooperative member, is guided by a Buckeye Power engineer who supplies tour takers with PPE gear, a plethora of knowledge, and coal plant pride as they get up close to a working coal-fired generating unit.
September 13 and 14, a total of 305 tour guests from thirteen cooperatives, OEC’s corporate office, and Tunnel Ridge Coal Mine attended the 2023 Cardinal Plant tour. Firelands Electric Cooperative welcomed three government representatives on the tour—State Rep. Marilyn John, State Rep. Melanie Miller, and Ashland, Ohio Mayor Matt Miller. A Mid-Ohio Energy trustee flew his private airplane from Marion, Ohio to Jefferson County Airport to attend the tour. Several cooperatives brought groups of high school and electrical trade students along for the educational tour. Six coal miners from Tunnel Ridge Coal Mine wanted to see where the product of their hard work went next in the process of producing electricity. Cardinal Plant purchases coal from nearby Tunnel Ridge mine in West Virginia.
The tour began with a video of Cardinal Plant’s history that explained how Ohio’s cooperatives joined with other electric companies in the late 1960's to build Cardinal Plant and ensure their members would have a reliable source for generating electricity for generations to come. The video showed how electricity is made in one of the plant’s three units, and how through the decades, Cardinal Plant has invested over $1 billion to make it one of the most innovative and environmentally responsible coal plants in the world.
Next, co-op members were off on the walking tour to see the 19-story suspended boiler, the giant turbine, and the cooling tower in action, as they worked together to produce electricity—1800 MW total for Cardinal Plant—enough to power more than one million homes and businesses across Ohio. Ohio electric cooperative members also got the opportunity to meet some of the hardworking men and women who keep the plant operating, and keep their lights on 24/7/365.
Cardinal Plant is one of only four coal plants still operating today in Ohio. There were 21 in 2009. Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives, Buckeye Power and Cardinal Plant are committed to keeping Cardinal Plant operating, and generating the reliable, environmentally responsible, affordable electricity, cooperative members depend on.