Gas, New Projects

Texas commission okays two more Montana units for El Paso

The Texas Public Utility Commission on July 11 approved a September 2013 application from El Paso Electric (EPE) for two additional 88-MW natural gas-fired units at its Montana power plant.

The site for the proposed units is the Montana power station, located in EPE’s service area in eastern El Paso County, just east of the city of El Paso. EPE received Texas commission authorization for the first two of these Montana units – Units 1 and 2 -in December 2012.

Montana Units 3 and 4 will each consist of a General Electric LMS 100 simple-cycle, aero-derivative combustion turbine that will be fueled by natural gas, with the capability to burn fuel oil as their secondary fuel source. Montana Units 3 and 4 will be the same size as and use the same technology as Montana Units 1 and 2.

Although the units would have a nameplate rating of 103 MW at ISO conditions, each unit will deliver 88 MW (net) to EPE under summer peak conditions due to the relatively high elevation and high temperatures in this area of Texas. The high elevation in the area also means that the units’ heat rate will be higher than it would be at ISO conditions. The units’ guaranteed full load heat rate is 9,074 British thermal units per kilowatt-hour, with a thermal efficiency ranging from 44% to 50%.

The units will be used for peaking service and also intermediate service and are expected to operate at approximately a 40% capacity factor. They will be quick start units that can be brought on-line within three minutes and reach full load within 10 minutes.

Montana Units 3 and 4 are expected to be operational by the summer peaks of 2016 and 2017, respectively. The total estimated cash capital cost of the units is $151.2m. The estimated amount of allowance for funds used during construction is $17.9m, for an overall estimated total cost of $169.1m.

Construction of the first two units at the plant is expected to be completed by the summer 2015 peak season.

El Paso Electric provides generation, transmission and distribution service to around 394,000 retail and wholesale customers in a 10,000-square-mile area of the Rio Grande valley in west Texas and southern New Mexico.

This article was republished with permission from GenerationHub.