Good news for electric ratepayers; Golden Valley has the keys to Healy Unit 2. The coal-fired power plant is expected to help stabilize electric rates which have fluctuated with the oil market over the past several years.
The 50-megawatt Healy Unit 2 power plant, formerly known as the Healy Clean Coal Plant (HCCP), is co-located with GVEA’s 25-megawatt Healy Unit 1. Healy Unit 1, also coal-fired, has been in operation since 1967.
Healy Unit 2 was built as an experimental plant in the 1990s, funded primarily with state and federal money. It was owned by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA). The plant has not operated since 2000.
GVEA purchased the plant from AIDEA for $44 million with a loan from the Cooperative Finance Corporation. A separate loan from the Rural Utilities Service will finance advanced emission control systems and restart activities. Restart activities include new mill exhauster fans and environmental analyzers, as well as control system, pulverizer and electrical upgrades.
Altogether, GVEA will spend $150 to $160 million to acquire and refurbish the plant. By comparison, a new coal-fired power plant of this capacity, built from the ground up, would cost about $300 million.
GVEA plans to update the power plant and have it in operation by the second quarter of 2015, which coincides with the expiration of a natural gas power purchase agreement with Chugach Electric Association in Anchorage.