Alberta city approved for 45 MW of new generating capacity

The City of Medicine Hat (MEDHAT) got a Feb. 2 approval from the Alberta Utilities Commission to construct and operate a 43-MW gas turbine (called CT16) and a 2-MW diesel black start unit at the Cousins West site in the city of Medicine Hat.

MEDHAT also applied for and was approved to connect CT16 into its own distribution network. This application was registered on Oct. 30, 2014.

MEDHAT stated that it needed additional capacity to meet its growing load based on its generation reliability criteria. MEDHAT currently has 203.4 MW of installed capacity in its main generation plant, located on the south shore of the South Saskatchewan River. The city used the “Loss of the Largest Unit Method” as its generating reliability criteria; the capacity of its highest unit is 59.5 MW. It stated that the highest peak demand for the city over the past five years was 177.9 MW and if the loss of the highest capacity unit occurred at the time of peak demand, it could not meet the demand.

In response, MEDHAT proposed a new 43-MW gas turbine to meet the reliability criteria. MEDHAT proposed locating the new unit at the Cousins West site to spread out generation sites and avoid residential impacts. Locating the turbine at a separate site allows MEDHAT to supply power in the event of an outage of the main generation plant. The black start unit is required for emergency use on-site to mitigate the risk of a blackout. The black start unit would only be used in emergencies and would be shut down when CT16 is operational. The black start unit would also be used once per month during day-time hours for maintenance and quality control purposes. The Cousins West site is located six kilometres northwest of the main generation plant.

MEDHAT anticipated CT16 to be operational in the fall of 2017.

Said the Feb. 2 approval order: “The Commission has reviewed the application and has determined that the proposed facilities meet the requirements of subsection 95(4) of the Electric Utilities Act. The Commission also determined that the technical, siting, emissions, environmental and noise aspects of the power plant have been met. MEDHAT’s participant involvement program has been conducted and there are no outstanding public or industry objections or concerns.”

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.