News

Commercial Operation of New Generating Unit

May 4, 2016

EPE welcomes the completion of the newest power generating unit at our Montana Power Station (MPS). This is the third unit with an 88-megawatt (MW) turbine powered by natural gas at MPS. Unit 3 was completed on-time and on budget and will provide electricity to more than 40,000 homes. MPS Unit 3 follows the completion of Units 1 and 2, which became operational in March of 2015. These units are already performing, as expected, at about a 40% capacity factor and even higher during the summer months.

“Our local generation is necessary to meet customer electricity needs during periods of high usage and the quick-starting capability of these units allows us to effectively follow changes in customer load,” said Andy Ramirez, Vice President of Power Generation. “By investing in local generation, we improve our reliability for our customers and make sure we meet their electrical load requirements.”

MPS Unit 4 is currently under construction, and when completed at the end of this year, these four generating units will be capable of generating enough energy to provide electricity to more than 160,000 homes and will add 352 MW of efficient, reliable and clean burning natural gas power to our system. These new generating units are 20% to 37% more efficient than older conventional steam units.

The average age of EPE’s local generation is more than 47 years old.

“We are always planning ahead to ensure we meet the future needs of our growing community,” said Mary Kipp, CEO.  “We continue to see an increase in the number of customers we serve and we plan for the growth in our region by replacing less efficient equipment to maintain reliability and to meet the needs of our customers.”

About these generating units:

The state-of-the-art 88-MW simple cycle aero-derivative combustion turbine is powered by natural gas and has quick start capabilities which allows the unit to go from off-line to full output in less than 10 minutes, thus increasing overall power grid stability, and work in concert with the Company's renewable energy sources. MPS Unit 4, identical to the other three MPS units, is expected to reach commercial operation September 2016. The peaking capability and technology of these units, will allow EPE to meet our customers’ energy‐demand fluctuations in an efficient and cost‐effective manner, especially in the summer.