Demolished coal plant gains new life as renewable energy operations center with more possibilities | Black & Veatch

Demolished coal plant gains new life as renewable energy operations center, with more possibilities

Demolished coal plant gains new life as renewable energy operations center with more possibilities

Project Name
Asbury Plant Demolition
Asbury, MO

On June 29, 2023, Liberty Asbury Power Plant was brought down three years after being decommissioned, and more than 50 years after it was first commissioned. This implosion was just the next step in the site’s journey to continue providing the community with safe, affordable power.

Opened in 1970, Black & Veatch engaged in the original plant design for the 200-megawatt facility that became a community staple for half a century. It underwent several upgrades during that time, with Black & Veatch completing numerous projects serving as either Owner’s Engineer or Design Engineer.

Plant Decommissioning & Demolition

Liberty started examining next steps for the power plant years before its implosion. They weighed many options, evaluating upgrades needed to support environmental compliance, as well as safety, cost, and repurposing. They chose a phased approach to shutdown, retiring the plant in 2020.

“Liberty did a lot of studies to determine that this was the ultimate fate for this facility,” said Drew Landoll, Liberty’s Senior Director of Engineering and Project Management. “Working through stakeholder agreements and pulling in everybody that has part ownership of this facility was very instrumental in having a decision—ultimately retiring and removing this unit from the property.”

The utility again brought Black & Veatch on board to help plan then oversee the demolition process.

“Black & Veatch works closely with clients starting at early phase efforts, where we're collaborating to prepare plans that bring safety, cost, schedule and other factors into clear focus,” said Keith Small, Black & Veatch Associate Vice President and Client Account Manager.

“We are proud of how our continuity of support at Asbury has continued for many decades. More recently, helping Liberty develop shutdown plans, write decommissioning and demolition bid specs, evaluate and select contractors, then overseeing the safe, successful demolition working with Liberty and others. This is our value on full display.”

Black & Veatch Decommissioning and Demolition Manager Brian Colson added, “we worked with a great client, provided the right specifications, deployed quality engineering, and brought in safety focused contractors.”

A Greener Future

The plant site currently contains the Asbury Renewable Operations Center (AROC), which supports three Liberty wind farms and one solar farm in the region. The AROC is continually manned and provides opportunities to many Liberty employees who worked at the formerly operational power plant.

“I think the thing I'm most proud of is that nobody lost their job throughout this transition. We worked with each and every individual employee throughout this transition to ensure that they had a position and a future here at Liberty,” said Tim Wilson, President, Central Region - Electric

Steel and other materials from the demolished plant will be recycled, and the site eventually will return to a greenfield state, opening up many options for the utility.

“Liberty's future intention of this site is to use it much the same way we have for the last 53 years to serve our customers, whether that be with new renewable generation or, again, some expansion of our operating capabilities in this part of Jasper County. Really, the possibilities are endless,” said Shaen Rooney, Liberty's Director Strategic Projects.

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