Coal Questions

I received, by anonymous email, a lengthy series of questions related to the coal plant. I don't know if these questions have been submitted to the Tribune in accordance with their request.

In looking through them, most seem quite thoughtful. Therefore, I am going to reproduce them here. Since they are so lengthy, though, I am going to truncate the list a bit. Here goes:

1. How many BTU’s per lb. is the coal to be burned? …What is its sulfur content? And water of hydration?

2. How many lbs. (or tons) of this type of coal will be required to generate 1 megawatt of power using the planned coal-fired generator?

3. How much per ton will this coal cost F.O.B. origin mine?

4. Where is the origin mine, which will provide the coal? … Colstrip?

5. Which company will supply the coal? … Peabody? etc.

6. How many tons per year will be required to supply coal to feed this plant? … One million?

7. Does the proposed supplier (e.g.: Peabody) have enough loading capacity to load an additional one million tons per year?… If not, how long will it take to build additional loading capacity? .. Who will build it? .. At what capital investment cost to build the shuttle loading facility? …Paid for by whom?

8. Who will pay for the investment to build the 5,600 foot “O” track and rollover dump costing an estimated $10 million at the power plant in Highwood? … SME, BNSF, city of Great Falls? … Will the city have to pay for 25% of this capital investment?

9. Who will pay for the five 60-100 ton aluminum car unit train sets (costing $60,000 per car x 300 cars costing $18 million, plus 15 4-6,000 HP locomotives costing $2.3 million each = $34.5 million; or a total of $18 million + $34.5 million = $52.5 million!) BNSF? SME? .. The City of Great Falls? … Will the City of Great Falls pay for 25% of this investment if BNSF refuses to purchase the rail equipment or build the unloading track and rollover dump costing $10 million for a total of $62.5 million in rail equipment and unloading infrastructure? … *NOTE: This could cost the city an additional $62.5 x 25% or $15.625 million in addition to the 25% of the $516 million for the generation plant or $129 million…This would make the city’s commitment of $129 + $15.6 = $144.6 million!*

10. How long will it take to build the rail cars, unloading track, rollover dump and locomotives after receipt of order (ARO)? .. 1 year, 2 years, 3 years? … Who will build them? … National Steel Car? General Motors, General Electric?

11. What are the round trip rail miles between origin coal loading point and Highwood Plant?

12. What is total average turn-around time between the rail origin and destination of the coal in hour(s), day(s), week(s), etc.?

13. How many trips per year would each car or unit train set make per year? … 24? …35?, etc.

14. How many average tons per car of coal could each railcar handle in aluminum “bathtub” bottom coal cars with rollover couplers having a gross weight allowable on rail of 286,000 lbs.?

15. What Return-On-Investment (ROI) would the investor in the rail equipment require? 5%? … 10%? … 20%? … To cover the cost of capital?

16. What is the “pay-out period” for the rail equipment investment? 5 years? … 10 years? … 15 years?

17. What is the allowable depreciation period for rail equipment? 15 years? … 20 years? … 30 years?

18. What is the marginal income tax rate for the investor in rail equipment?

19. How long of a term would BNSF require in a contract to haul the coal? 5 years? … 10 years? … 15 years? … 20 years?

20. How much would BNSF charge per ton just to haul the coal if they furnished
equipment, built the unloading track and rollover dump? $15 … $20 … $25 per ton?

If you can answer them, please let me know!

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