2009-10-29 / General Stories

Luminant Community Advisory Panel Hears Status of Power Plants and Mining

Luminant's Sandow Power Plant Unit 5 was of primary interest when the Luminant Community Advisory Panel (LCAP) met in September after a summer recess. Improvements to Unit 4 and the status of Three Oaks Mine were also reported and discussed. The panel will meet again on November 9.

Luminant's Steve Skidd, director of generation for Sandow Power Plant, explained that completion of the new Unit 5 involves both generating electricity and meeting environmental permit conditions.

Unit 5 synchronized to the electric power grid at 2:27 p.m. on July 3, 2009. It ran for about 32 hours and made 34 megawatts of electricity, meaning it achieved commercial operation. Not unexpectedly for a large new industrial plant, it has had some ups and downs since then. Skidd said that each time small problems are addressed, the plant runs longer between shutdown events. It will be considered finally complete when it runs at least 30 days at 80% or more capacity without any forced outages or trips. A planned outage in early November will allow Bechtel, the builder, to check some systems after the plant has run for some time.

The plant must also meet a deadline to achieve "environmentally substantive completion. On September 14, Judge Sparks granted Luminant's request for an extension of 61 days past the original August 31, 2009 deadline for running at set rates within the limits set by an air permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Meanwhile, construction of additional equipment to reduce emissions at Unit 4 is on Schedule.

September 1 was the second anniversary of Luminant's operation of Three Oaks Mine. Mine Manager Jerry Poland reported that since that time, Luminant has mined approximately 371 acres and moved 51 million cubic yards of soil overburden. This resulted in delivery of about 7.4 million tons of lignite. One dragline is running well after a maintenance outage. The other is undergoing a major rehaul.

The Luminant CAP will meet again on Monday, November 9 from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 216 W. 3rd Street in Elgin. For details, contact the LCAP facilitator at 800-484- 9212 ext. 4127. Visitors are welcome!

Lexington area residents are also welcome to contact Bob Lee at 979-542-3006.

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