Dedication and tour held at J.M. Shafer Station

Former Tri-State general manager J.M. Shafer stands in front of the facility now named in honor of him.

A formal dedication ceremony and tour of J.M. Shafer Station took place on July 11 for Tri-State’s board of directors and other guests attending the association’s July board meeting held in Westminster.

Following the meeting, directors and guests were transported to the plant site near Fort Lupton, Colo., where a dedication ceremony was held to officially re-name the plant from Fort Lupton Station to J.M. Shafer Generating Station in honor of Tri-State’s former executive vice president and general manager, J.M. Shafer. The now retired former G.M. and electric industry veteran said, “This is a great honor to be recognized with a facility that will provide efficient and reliable power to the rural electric consumers of this region for decades to come.”

Following the dedication, plant personnel provided tours of the 272-megawatt, natural gas-fueled facility.

Although Tri-State has been buying power from this plant since 2009, it purchased Thermo Co-generation Partnership (TCP), the owner of the plant, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tri-State in December of 2011. TCP previously held a contract with the Wood Group to provide the manpower to operate the plant. On July 1, that contract terminated, at which time the 17 employees of J.M. Shafer Station became employees of Tri-State.

Under the current ownership arrangement, Tri-State continues to purchase up to 150 megawatts of capacity from the plant, while Xcel Energy buys the balance of the plant’s output (up to 122 megawatts) under a power purchase agreement that extends for six more years.

J.M. Shafer Station is one of two combined-cycle generating facilities in Tri-State’s fleet. Unlike a simple-cycle peaking plant such as Tri-State’s Limon and Knutson units, which produce heat that is lost in the exhaust stacks, this plant features both combustion turbines and heat recovery steam generators that extract the exhaust heat from the combustion turbines. It then essentially uses that heat to boil water and produce steam to drive a secondary turbine making it a more efficient “combined-cycle” plant. Tri-State’s other combined-cycle plant is the smaller Rifle Generating Station located in southwestern Colorado.

Tours of the plant were provided to the Tri-State board and guests following the dedication ceremony.

“J.M. Shafer Station is a particularly useful facility for Tri-State because of its proximity on the Front Range, where it is free of transmission bottlenecks and near many of our load centers — and because of its flexibility of operation,” said Barry Ingold, Tri-State’s senior manager of production assets. “It can be operated in a variety of combustion turbine and steam turbine configurations ranging from 20 megawatts to 272 megawatts, depending on the day’s load requirements and it can be brought from start-up to full load in less than an hour. It is an excellent intermediate load resource for Tri-State,” he added.

Combined-cycle plants are often referred to in the electric industry as intermediate load resources because they are typically stacked or dispatched after baseload resources such as Craig and Laramie River stations, and before simple-cycle peaking facilities that are utilized less frequently on a day-to-day basis.

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