Healy Unit 2 Power Plant accomplishes first major step towards startup

Golden Valley Electric Association has fired the boiler at the Healy 2 power plant for the first time since 2016.

The plant was fired on oil yesterday, beginning a test phase that will continue for the next three months. This initial oil firing will allow crews to troubleshoot many of the inter-related systems and identify any issues that need to be addressed during recommissioning. Work will continue this summer with the plant transitioning from oil to coal for additional testing of equipment and systems. The plant is expected to begin producing a small amount of power during this testing with full commercial operation slated for September.

The plant operated briefly in 2016, but was shut down after two separate small explosions, one in March and another in November that year. During the time the plant has been shut down, modifications have been made to the plant’s coal feed and fuel transport systems which were determined to be the root cause of the two mill puff explosions back in 2016.

GVEA purchased the plant from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) in December 2013. Since then, GVEA has updated systems and replaced obsolete controls. This includes significant environmental upgrades which will be tested during the recommissioning period.

“We are pleased to have gotten to this point to demonstrate the clean coal technology originally designed as part of a Federal Department of Energy project. The recommissioning project is on schedule and on budget,” said Cory Borgeson, President & CEO for GVEA. The community of Healy has seen the addition of 35 new permanent jobs with this project.

Usibelli Coal Mine is gearing up to supply the fuel, which will be delivered by truck. Contractor Bluewater Energy Solutions is performing the startup and commissioning for the restart of Healy Unit 2.

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