The North Pole Expansion (NPE) Power Plant is helping Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA) meet increasing power requirements. The addition of the Strategic Missile Defense System and Pogo Gold Mine, as well as Alyeska’s Pump Station #9, has increased GVEA’s system power demand by over 30 megawatts.
The NPE Plant adds 60 megawatts (MW) of generation at the existing 120-MW North Pole Power Plant site, which was built in 1975.
The project entailed the installation of a 47-MW combustion turbine, with a steam turbine that allows an additional 13 MW to be generated. As demand increases, we can add another combustion turbine, raising capacity at the new plant to 120 MW.
The plant is energy-efficient and clean-burning. The steam turbine uses the waste heat from the combustion turbines to produce power. The combustion turbine uses water injection combustion controls to control nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, low sulfur fuel to control sulfur dioxide emissions and a carbon monoxide catalyst to control emissions of CO. The plant burns Naphtha, an extremely clean-burning fuel, originally produced at the Flint Hills Resources refinery.** The total combined sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from the two existing 60-MW gas turbines and the new 60-MW plant are lower than what is currently permitted by the Dept. of Environmental Conservation for the existing power plant. If natural gas comes to the Interior, the NPE will have the ability to burn gas.
** In February 2014, Flint Hills Resources announced it would cease refining crude by the end of May 2014. GVEA began searching for a new fuel supplier, and on May 8, GVEA reached an agreement with Petro Star Inc. to supply the NPE a naphtha-blended fuel. On July 4, the NPE plant began burning fuel supplied from Petro Star via a new 600-ft. pipe, which connects the power plant and the refinery.
- Summer/Fall 2002 – Conceptual design
- 2nd quarter 2004 – Ground breaking
- 4th quarter 2006 – Startup plant and testing
- 1st quarter 2007 – Completed testing
- March 2007 – Began commercial operation