Study looks at adding renewables at Colorado power plant of Black Hills

Black Hills/Colorado Electric Utility Co. LP filed on Nov. 26 at the Colorado Utilities Commission a study done by a consultant on the potential to add new renewable energy capacity at the gas-fired Pueblo Airport Generating Station (PAGS) facility.

Black Hills contracted with Leidos Engineering LLC to prepare a “Risk Assessment” associated with Black Hills proposed expansion of PAGS. The PAGS facility is operated by Black Hills Corp. and serves the load serving entity of Black Hills Energy in the Pueblo, Colorado, community. PAGS is currently a nominal 380-MW power plant located one mile and a quarter west of the runway at the Pueblo Airport. The purpose of this report is to address the Colorado commission’s direction that Black Hills shall “study and address the issue of location risk and mitigation of any such risk” in conjunction with a proposal to expand the generation at PAGS beyond the previously approved plan to install a new LM6000 at the PAGS site.

PAGS consists of two simple cycle and two combined cycle generating units with a total nominal capacity of approximately 380 MW that began commercial operation in January 2012. Units 1 and 2 are General Electric (GE) model LMS100 units each rated at 90 MW at ambient temperature of 95°F. Units 3 and 4 are GE model LM6000 combined cycle units in a 2×1 configuration, each with a capacity of 100 MW, at ambient temperature of 95°F.

Black Hills has received approval from the Colorado PUC to add an additional LM6000 combustion turbine to the PAGS site. This new unit is currently planned to be installed on the south side of the two existing combined cycle units.

In response to its All Source Resource Acquisition in Phase II of its 2013 Electric Resource Planning proceeding, Black Hills is considering the potential addition of approximately 60 MW of renewable generation, in order to satisfy renewable portfolio standards (RPS) and to satisfy future Black Hills generation resource needs. This new renewable generation may utilize adjacent property to the PAGS site.

The existing PAGS site offers a number of features that would benefit the development of a new generation at the site. These features include:

  • The existing generation complex and layout on the site provide adequate space to add one or more gas turbines on the site.
  • Adjacent property to the PAGS site provides opportunity to develop additional generation whether it is gas generation or renewables.
  • The existing PAGS site has a sufficient amount of property owned by Black Hills as well as adjacent property that could be used for temporary storage laydown of equipment.
  • Pueblo has population of 108,000 people and over 25 hotels that could support smaller construction projects associated with PAGS generation expansion.
  • Local construction labor coupled with available labor from the Colorado Front Range would adequately support the required construction labor.
  • The current PAGS site has at least three access points. Site access is not expected to be a problem with planned expansion and may include a fourth access point depending on the future layout of any PAGS expansion.

The Leidos study noted: “Black Hills, as a transmission provider, currently has three executed Interconnection Agreements (“IAs”) with Black Hills, as a utility generator owner, and Black Hills Colorado IPP, LLC for 400 MW of installed and operating generation including two natural gas-fired combined cycle units and two LMS-100 units at PAGS. Black Hills, as a transmission provider, has an executed IA with itself, as the generator owner, for an additional 100 MW of not yet installed generation for a total installed capacity of 500 MW at the site. There are no specific build-out plans – the additional capacity could be natural gas-fired generators, renewables, or a combination of the two. Black Hills received approval from the Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”) to construct a 40 MW LM6000 unit to replace the 42 MW (total) Clark Station coal units, leaving 60 MW of unplanned interconnection capacity under the IA.”

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.