Letter: A way to wind up the old power plant
We understand the city is pursuing a repowering plan for the Grayson power plant in order to produce 250 megawatts of power for the city’s peek electrical demand of 350 megawatts. Here are the particulars: 1) retention of Unit 9, a recently installed 50-megawatt gas turbine driven generator; 2) at-once replacement of all other generators that depend on steam with gas turbines to supply an additional 200 megawatts of power; 3) an estimated cost of $350 million and 4) because state law, at the time of the plan, required 30% of the energy portfolio to consist of renewables, the remaining 100 megawatts of the 350 megawatts would come from wind, solar and the like.
We’ve recommended not repowering all at once; but, rather to repower in phases. For example, Grayson’s oldest steam units 1 and 2, and the units that work in tandem with them and supply approximately 100 megawatts could be replaced with a particular gas turbine. Its cost is in the neighborhood of $100 million, and it generates from 50 to 100 megawatts without significant efficiency loss. It’s also environmentally cleaner than existing Grayson units. Installation costs would be significantly less. With Unit 9, 150 megawatts would be supplied by gas turbines. The old steam-driven units 3, 4 and 5, if needed and if kept in good repair, could supply approximately 100 additional megawatts.
Because of fast-paced technological advances and because of increased governmental regulations regarding use of renewables, the city’s plan could saddle Glendalians with a $350-million debt for a plant whose electric generating capacity exceeds the needs of the city.
We urge the city to consider repowering Grayson in phases which would reduce costs to approximately $100 to 150 million and would allow flexibility in adapting to new technological and regulatory advances.
Harry Zavos and Larry Moorehouse