FORT COLLINS, COLO -- Platte River Power Authority's newest generation resource--a 128 MW natural-gas single-cycle turbine--has begun commercial operations, just in time for the hottest weather of the season.
"Demand for electricity during the summer has grown dramatically in our owner-communities," said Brian Moeck, Platte River general manager. "It’s mainly due to the number of air conditioners that have been installed during the last several years."
Until 1994, the highest demand for Platte River's electricity came during the winter. In the last 14 years, the peak has more than doubled from 312 MW to 635 MW and has generally occurred in July or August.
The new General Electric model 7FA turbine--designated Rawhide Unit F--was chosen over other equipment because of its cost effectiveness, minimal impact on the environment and because it can be started up quickly to meet the sudden increase in electricity demanded when many air conditioners are cranked up from 4 to 7 p.m.
Unit F was originally scheduled to commence commercial operation on June 1, but the timetable was delayed due to the tornado that swept through northern Colorado on May 22. While construction on Unit F had already been finished, testing could not be completed until Xcel Energy repaired two damaged transmission lines in the Gilcrest/Platteville area.
"The delay was frustrating, but we were very fortunate that overall, our operations were not severely impacted by the tornado," said Moeck.
Platte River Power Authority generates and provides reliable, low-cost and environmentally responsible electricity to its owner communities of Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland for delivery to their utility customers. Platte River's facilities are located along the Front Range, northwestern Colorado and near Medicine Bow, Wyoming.