June 23, 2011

Electric Plant Refitting for Natural Gas in Preparation of Generation Demands

High gasoline prices are taking their tolls on summer vacations and adding to costs for farmers. The price at the pump was also looming for the City of Memphis with the impending installation of the new electric substation.

The city is faced with the daunting task of maintaining full generation for city electric customers for a period of 24-48 hours as the main transmission line into the Memphis power grid is disconnected to allow for the new substation to be placed into service.

Fortunately this process will not be totally dependent upon the fluctuation of diesel fuel costs.

The Memphis City council recently authorized the installation of new natural gas lines to supply up to three of the city's electric generators at the light plant.

The dual/fuel units have not run on natural gas for years because of faulty supply lines. With the rising cost of diesel fuel combined with the anticipated extended generation times expected this fall, plant Superintendent Mike Ahland noted the time was right to make the repairs.

"It's a pretty big price tag, but the fuel savings the city will see over the full generation period actually will pay for the cost of the repairs," Ahland told the council.

City crews are helping to offset some of the cost of the project, performing much of the preparation work, including trenching for the new lines.

That work is expected to lower the cost of the project by more than $1,000.

R.L. Hoerner Company of Quincy, IL, has been hired to install approximately 90 feet of 4" black fusion pipe.

Overall, the cost of the project was projected at $7,500. Work is expected to begin this summer, weather permitting, in preparation for the fall generation demands of the substation switchover.

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