The Chuck Lenzie Generating Station sits about 30 miles north of Las Vegas in the desert. On Monday, Dec. 7, about two dozen POWER-GEN International 2015 attendees hopped a bus bound for a technical tour of the NV Energy facility.
The 1,102-MW natural gas-fueled power plant is one of three plants on the Arrow Canyon Complex, including the Harry Allen and Silverhawk generating stations.
Safety is top of mind at Chuck Lenzie, where plant director Steve Page said every staff meeting begins with a look at their current OSHA incident rates. After implementing new safety initiatives in 2012, Page said the plant has broken its own record for lowest number of incidents each year since 2013 and could do so again in 2015.
Adorned with hard hats, safety goggles and ear plugs, small groups of attendees set off on foot with tour guides to take a closer look at the workings of Chuck Lenzie.
The power plant features two side-by-side power production blocks, each using two highly-efficient General Electric 7FA combustion turbines to produce electricity. It was a familiar sight for some of the tour attendees, who work with GE Power’s gas turbine module design team.
The gas turbines’ exhaust is recycled to produce steam for two GE D-11 steam turbines, resulting in the production of additional electricity for NV Energy customers.
Page said nearly all the electricity produced at the facility helps power the city of Las Vegas.
Unlike conventional power plants, which use substantial amounts of water for cooling, the Chuck Lenzie plant uses a six-story dry-cooling system in which 100 massive fans turn the steam back into water, which is reused in the plant. The air cooled condenser is one of the largest in the world. Each fan is 32-feet in diameter.
The dry-cooling system enables the facility to produce the same amount of electricity with just 7 percent of the water used by a conventional water-cooled facility.
“Certainly in the desert, water is very important,” said Page. “There’s not a lot to go around.”
Furthermore, a waste water treatment system recaptures and recycles about 75 percent of the water the Chuck Lenzie facility does use during the production process.
The plant was initially a Duke Energy project, but after partial development Duke sold Chuck Lenzie to NV Energy for about $600 million, according to one of the tour guides.
Online since 2006, the Chuck Lenzie Generating Station produces enough electricity to power the equivalent of about 665,000 Nevada homes annually.