Xcel Energy unveiled plans to relocate an existing power generating unit from Texas to Tucumcari for use as a backup power supply, during Thursday night’s city commission meeting.
Xcel Energy Project Manager Alan Davidson told commissioners and residents, pending regulatory approvals, Xcel will move a combustion turbine from an existing facility at Borger, Texas to a new facility to be built adjacent to the company's Campbell Street Substation in north Tucumcari.
“The project will cost $15.8 million,” Davidson said. “We can not remove the plant during peak summer times from its existing location.”
Davidson said the turbine will be moved in Sept. 2012 and should be operation by May 2013 subject to receipt of required approvals and permits.
“The plant will be operated remotely from Amarillo,” Davidson said.
Davidson said the turbine, has a capacity of 20 megawatts and will serve primarily as a back-up power station. He said the station will be used in the event of another interrupted of services such as last month’s interruption of service for almost six hours in Tucumcari.
“The turbine will be capable of handling the power load of Tucumcari for several days,” Davidson said. “A series of breakers will need to be installed to bring the city back online in stages.”
Davidson said the turbine will not handle the entire demand of Tucumcari’s power load, the breakers will be a necessary and required safety provision.
Davidson said a buffer zone will be built around the proposed plant. He said turbine will operate on diesel, a burm will be build around the diesel tank to prevent soil contamination.
Davidson said Xcel Energy’s previously power facility in downtown Tucumcari has not been used for several years because of the age and condition of the generators. He said generating equipment from the plant will be removed and the facility will be demolished .
“A public hearing will be held at a later time for the public to address Xcel with questions and concerns,” said Mayor Jim Witcher.
Witcher said it would be a good thing to have a viable back up system in place in the event of another power outage.