- Published on 31 July 2012
- Written by Jenn Lampila
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City power plant takes last URGE test with all generators before regulations retire inefficient units.
Believe it or not, it was better to be outside last Wednesday than inside, at least if you were a City of Crete Power Plant Operator.
The temperature outside at about 4 p.m. Wednesday was 103 degrees. The temps inside the power plant north of 14th and Linden Ave. reached upwards of 132 degrees.
The plant was undergoing an annual, two-hour URGE test (Uniform Rating of Generation Equipment) to prove the plant’s seven generators can produce the amount of power the city leases to the power pool.
The city leases 15,670 KW of power capacity to the pool. The seven generators working Wednesday afternoon handled the test well, Tom Ourada, City Director of Public Works said. Capacity payments are made to the city for keeping the availability of power.
“It was easy to do because our power plant staff keeps the machines in good condition,” he said.
This was likely the last URGE test the plant will do in its current configuration, Ourada said.
New Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on emissions, power capacity compensation payments and constrained winter natural gas demands have left the city the decision to keep only the more efficient generating units and retire the others.
The oldest generator is from 1939, the newest is a 1973 model.
Jim Clark, retired from the power plant was present during the test Wednesday, along with current plant and city employees who monitored equipment in the sweltering heat.
RICE (reciprocating internal combustion engine) regulations involve retrofitting current generators to new emissions standards. Crete has opted to fit one large unit to new regulations by the May 2013 deadline. The cost is about $170,000. Next May the older units will be officially out of commission for use in the power plant.
Keeping one larger unit gives the city enough power capacity to provide for the city’s priority customers if the need arises. The city purchases the rest of the power capacity through the power pool.