ML&P's new plant under construction: efficient energy for Anchorage's oldest neighborhoods.

Author:Slaten, Russ
Position:SPECIAL SECTION: Energy & Power

Five years ago, Municipal Light and Power (ML&P) began the process of considering, evaluating, and deciding whether or not they should build a new power plant.

About two years from now, on June 16, 2016 at exactly 12:01 a.m., ML&P General Manager Jim Trent says the utility will fire up the engines and commission the George M. Sullivan Plant 2A expansion project into service.

ML&P provides power to over thirty thousand people living in the Municipality of Anchorage, covering areas north of Tudor Road and west of Boniface Parkway. Operating revenue comes from 14 percent residential users and 61 percent commercial users, spanning businesses in the U-Med District, downtown Anchorage, and midtown.

Initial Concerns

"We considered the ramifications of how, when, and why--and the dollars--and decided that the best interest for our customers here in Anchorage was an additional power plant to provide continuous uninterrupted service to our customers, who really think that any time they turn on a switch, they should have power, and we adhere to that strategy," Trent says. Concerns for a steady natural gas supply of the partially owned Beluga gas field in Cook Inlet spurred the idea to build a new power plant, Trent says. Gas diminishing is no longer an issue after ample natural gas reserves were discovered in the area.

"The primary reason we decided to build the plant was to make sure that we had sufficient power for the growth of Anchorage and to prepare for any major outages that may occur, so we had redundancy and equipment," Trent says. "We also have dual fuel power plants running. So if there's a disruption in natural gas, we have diesel fuel tanks to support the continued power production. When everything goes to hell in a hand basket, we plan to be up and running."

Centered on Efficiency

ML&P chose Quanta Services out of twelve companies to handle engineering, procurement, and construction for the project.

"Leveraging our local Alaskan expertise and resources will play a critical role in performing this project safely, on time, and on budget. We look forward to bringing jobs and economic benefits to the area and being part of the local community over the next several years as we build this project," says Randall Wisenbaker, Quanta Services executive vice president of operations.

The new plant, next to the George M. Sullivan Plant 2 in east Anchorage, is a highly efficient, 120-megawatt thermal generation power plant. It is installed with two GE...

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