Medicine Hat seeks Alberta approval for 45 MW of new capacity

The City of Medicine Hat applied Oct. 30 at the Alberta Utilities Commission for a permit to construct and operate a General Electric LM6000 simple cycle natural gas power generator and a skid-mounted diesel black start unit at the city’s Cousins West site.

The City of Medicine Hat’s electric utility through its generation division (GENCO) is responsible for providing the city’s service area (approximately 30,000 customers) with its electricity requirements. Currently, GENCO has 203.4 MW of installed capacity at its power generation plant (main generation plant) located on the south shore of the South Saskatchewan River in the City of Medicine Hat.

The application is for one 43-MW gas turbine that will increase the combined total nominal capacity for the City of Medicine Hat Electric Utility to 246.4 MW. In addition, a 2-MW skid-mounted diesel black start unit will be added to mitigate the risk of a blackout. Fuel for the LM6000 will be natural gas. A new delivery station is being built for the proposed location. The new turbine is slated to be operating in the fall of 2017.

The application noted: “The City also has a contract for wind energy with the Box Springs Wind Corporation and a solar demonstration project. Wind and solar are a prudent component of an electricity portfolio given their environmental benefits in meeting emission requirements that have been introduced by both the Federal and Provincial governments. However, renewable energy is not firm energy since wind and solar energy is intermittent. System reliability requires that there be sufficient firm energy, typically thermal or hydro to ensure the ‘lights stay on.’ The previous Section 95 assessments for approval of the Box Springs wind farm, which was transferred to the Box Springs Wind Corporation, and the solar demonstration project confirmed that intermittent energy should not be considered in determining the requirements for reliability.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.