GVEA’s Healy Power Station Unit 2 Reaches Startup Milestone

GVEA is pleased to announce that the Healy Unit 2 power plant has operated at 95% availability for a 30-day period, exceeding a key benchmark set by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.

The 50-megawatt coal-fired unit had been idle since 2016, to allow GVEA to fix a design flaw in the coal feed/fuel transport system. GVEA worked with industry experts to bring Healy Unit 2 back online in a safe and reliable manner.

Since its July 28 restart on coal, the plant has continued to operate at near-peak capacity. During this time period, equipment and systems have been tested, monitored and refined. Bluewater Energy Solutions performed the startup and recommissioning of the plant. Usibelli Coal Mine delivers fuel to the plant via trucks.

GVEA purchased Healy Unit 2, which was built in the 1990s with experimental technology, from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) in 2013. Since then, GVEA has updated systems and replaced obsolete controls, including significant environmental upgrades.

Since coal is a reliable and inexpensive fuel, Healy Unit 2 is a critical part of GVEA’s generation fleet. “Every megawatt we generate with coal saves our members money,” said GVEA board member Bill Nordmark, who represents the Healy area.

The savings in fuel costs is passed through to members in the Fuel & Purchased Power (F&PP) rate, which is recalculated quarterly on electric bills. The current F&PP rate, effective September 1 through November 30, decreased 5 percent from the previous quarter, and we’re optimistic that it will continue to decrease with Unit 2 back in the generation mix.

“We’ve been working toward this goal for years, and it’s gratifying to see it come together,” said Board Chairman Rick Schikora.

GVEA now operates two coal-fired plants, which produces 75 megawatts combined. “This is an important milestone for our Healy Power Station, and it represents countless hours of hard work and dedication from our employees and contractors,” said GVEA President & CEO Cory Borgeson.

Golden Valley Electric is a member-owned cooperative serving the Interior for over 70 years. GVEA is the third largest electric utility in Alaska and serves nearly 100,000 Interior residents from Cantwell north along the Parks Highway and from Fairbanks south to Fort Greely along the Richardson Highway.

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