28 May 2003 – A General Electric steam turbine has completed testing and entered commercial operation at a Black Hills Corporation power station in Wyoming that is believed to be the first coal-fired plant put into service in the US since the beginning of the new century.
The GE steam turbine is installed at the Unit #3 Wygen power plant, which is part of Black Hills’ energy complex near Gillette, Wyoming. The machine is rated at 88.9 MW in baseload service, with a capacity of 99.7 MW at full pressure and temperature. Electricity being produced at the Wygen plant is being supplied to Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power and the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska.
Utilizing state-of-the-art technology, the new power plant offers high levels of technical efficiency and environmental control. “This facility is designed to meet and beat nitrous oxide and sulphur limits,” said Daniel P. Landguth, Chairman and CEO of Black Hills Corporation. “Wyoming is one of the strictest states in the nation and we honour our commitment to uphold their high standards. Scrubbers and selective catalytic reduction have been utilized to attain best-available control technology for minimizing SO2 and NOx emissions.”
The new power station was built close to Black Hills’ Wyodak coal mine. “With negligible transportation costs, this fuel source is incredibly low cost,” Landguth noted. “We expect the fuel component of power production to make our plant very competitive.” He added, “I congratulate our friends at General Electric for another job well done on the Wygen project. In addition to this very recent project, we also have installed many GE LM6000 gas turbine-generators at numerous power facilities throughout the western United States over the past few years. We are a strong user of GE technology in our generation fleet. We are pleased with the technical efficiency and reliability of GE components, and just as importantly, the service that comes with the product. Over many years, we have enjoyed a productive and mutually beneficial relationship, and we look forward to a continuation of the same in the years to come.”
“We are extremely pleased to support Black Hills in this significant project,” said Lance Hall, general manager, steam turbine and generator product lines for GE Power Systems. “It offers further evidence that today’s steam turbine technology can be applied to burn coal, a readily available and low-cost fuel, in an environmentally acceptable manner.”
Wygen unit #3 consists of a GE SC4, straight condensing, axial flow steam turbine and a 7A6 generator. The steam turbine was assembled and shipped from GE’s steam turbine plant in Schenectady, NY in the first quarter of 2002. Installation at the site was completed by December of 2002. Babcock & Wilcox of Barberton, Ohio was the equipment, procurement and construction contractor for the project.
The GE steam turbine is a duplicate of a unit supplied to Black Hills by GE in 1994. There also is a 22 MW GE steam turbine built in 1969 operating at the Wygen site.
Black Hills Corporation is an energy and communications company that supplies electric utility service in western South Dakota, northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana; markets communications services in Rapid City and the Northern Black Hills of South Dakota; engages in the production of coal, crude oil and natural gas primarily in the Rocky Mountain region and the related marketing of such products in various markets throughout the United States.