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Grand Island Switches to Natural Gas for Power Generation

For the source of electric power generation, the city of Grand Island could be switching from Coal to Natural Gas. A request for proposals is out of engineering services to consider new scenarios for the power generation. The February polar vortex event disrupted the Midwest because Texas lacked power, and more excellent reliability might be needed.

Utilities Director Tim Luchsinger said, “We did a very good job on operation. We found we had a very good balance of equipment here. We learned some lessons. But it got us to thinking, there has to be a value to being reliable. We need to somehow factor that into the equation, rather than just looking at what the cheapest cost is.”

During the last few years, the region has been transitioning from local generation to natural gas. He said that it involves getting rid of the big baseload units at the Platte Generation Station. It helps to mob quick-start companies, which can start in minutes rather than hours. It might take PGS 20 hours to begin rather than 15 minutes.

For the last four years, Grand Island Utilities has been looking to replace a smaller combustion turbine unit. In 1968, the unit was installed, which was primarily fuelled by natural gas but can use fuel. This is how it was used in February when natural gas was unavailable. In 2020, the replacement program was going out to bid, but the pandemic-related concerns canceled it.

Luchsinger said, “Starting with this smaller unit we want to replace, we want to have an outside firm come in and help us look at this, and maybe be able to do a more objective analysis of what we’re thinking about doing.”

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