Tenaska plans 900-MW Blue River gas plant in Indiana

Omaha-based independent power producer Tenaska is in the early stages of development for a 900-MW, natural gas, combined-cycle power plant in Shelby County, Ind.

The company said Dec. 13 it is evaluating a 98-acre site in Morristown, Ind., where it hopes to build, own and operate the plant, which is expected to cost $500m to construct. Commercial operation is targeted for 2017.

Tenaska Development Director Helen Manroe made the announcement during a presentation at a regular meeting of the Morristown Town Council on Dec. 12. The project will be known as the Tenaska Blue River Generating Station.

“We looked at several possible locations in Indiana, and Morristown has the right mix of access to electric transmission and natural gas, along with a welcoming community,” Manroe said. “Potential customers’ need for electricity and the price we can offer to them will ultimately determine whether the plant can move forward, but we are confident we have a great site to market.”

Tenaska said in a news release that it has obtained an option on the site in the Morristown Industrial Park in northeastern Shelby County, approximately 25 miles southeast of Indianapolis.

The industrial park is located near Interstates 74 and 70 and also has rail service, according to a website operated by the Shelby County Development Corp.

As conceived, the plant could be capable of producing up to 900 MW of electricity, enough capacity to power approximately 900,000 homes in the region, although the final size and configuration of the plant will be based on customer need. Construction could begin as early as 2014, with commercial operation as early as 2017.

Tenaska said the power plant could result in 600-to-700 temporary jobs during peak construction and 25 full-time jobs connected with operation of the plant.

In combined-cycle facilities, the heat and energy produced by the combustion of natural gas drives turbine-generator sets to produce electricity. The exhaust heat from the gas turbine-generator sets is used to produce steam, which drives a steam turbine-generator set to produce more electricity without using additional fuel.

Tenaska said that between 11,000 to 16,000 MW of coal-fired generation is expected to retire by 2016, according to a Brattle Group report.

“The region is in need of highly efficient, clean natural gas-fueled power plants to replace retiring coal-fueled capacity and meet future energy demands,” Manroe said. “Morristown is uniquely situated to answer that need and draw significant economic benefits at the same time.”

Tenaska has developed 16 combined-cycle plants during its 25-year history. It currently oversees operations of 14 plants with a total generating capacity of about 11,000 MW.

Tenaska also said that it has retained local businessman Brent Fuchs, who is also a former Shelby County elected official to act as a local liaison for the power plant project.

Tenaska’s website indicates that it is currently pursuing plans for natural gas-fueled power plants in Lebanon County, Pa., and Westmoreland County, Pa.

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) announced Nov. 15 that it had purchased a 270-MW gas plant from Tenaska Washington Partners, L.P. That project is located in northwest Washington, near Ferndale.


About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.