RIVERTON, MO.--- Empire District Electric Company breaks ground on an expansion at its Riverton power plant this morning. Many people will benefit from the innovative technology Empire District and the engineering company, Burns and McDonnell, are installing in Riverton. Currently, Unit 12 is a simple cycle natural gas fired combustion turbine, which creates 143 mega watts of electricity. Now, the electric company is expanding Unit 12
"The main benefit of this project for the community is that we're going to produce more power without burning more natural gas because we're going to take the waste heat out of this turbine and use it in a heat recovery steam generator and get, basically, free power out of it," said Ray Kowalik, Burns & McDonnell.
The expansion project will increase energy production, efficiency, and environmental safety.
"When compared to the old coal units that we had here, in terms of CO2 it will be about half of the CO2 emissions as what we had there. And in terms of SO2, it will be about a 99 percent reduction," said Tim Wilson, Director of Energy Supply.
The expansion will include a heat recovery steam generator. The generator captures waste heat funneling it back into the system and allowing the unit to produce 110 more megawatts of additional energy, and allow Empire to provide roughly 65,000 customers with energy for a year.
"In terms of the project and its benefits, I think for our customers the main thing is that it continues to provide safe, economical, and reliable energy for our customers in the future," said Tim Wilson, Director of Energy Supply.
The $170 million construction project is expected to be completed in June of 2016, and employ approximately 150 local residents. The project will not only employ residents, but it will also stimulate local businesses. A large work crew will shop at local stores, buy local gas, and utilize local services.
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