After more than 70 years, crews at Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO) have begun demolition of its diesel plant, which has helped power southwest Iowa since 1948.
The demolition is part of CIPCO’s plan to repower the natural gas-fired Summit Lake generating station on REA Road. The $85 million investment to Union County includes the demolition of its diesel and steam plants, installation of efficient natural gas-fired reciprocating engines, construction of a new operations and dispatch center, and substation upgrades, which are all slated to be operational by the end of 2022.
Kerry Koonce, manager of communications and public affairs at CIPCO said the new natural gas-fired reciprocating engines are important to maintain reliable service to its customers.
“They come up to production fast, which is great for us as it complements our addition of wind and solar throughout our system,” she said. “With these quick-start natural gas ones, we can pull them up very quickly when the wind isn’t blowing and when the sun isn’t shining.”
After the diesel plant is demolished and a new facility with the reciprocating engines is built, demolition of the steam plant will begin.
“It’s really important to CIPCO that we have a diverse generation pool that allows us to be reliable, guaranteed 24/7 service to our members, it’s just better for business and this allows us to keep doing that,” Koonce said.
Koonce added that, while an extensive amount of design work has been completed, there have not been any delays in the plants renovation and will be complete according to their original time frame.
The six new natural gas-fired reciprocating generators totaling approximately 60 megawatts, increases the plant’s overall generating capacity. CIPCO’s plant was generating nearly 84 megawatts of power, but after the removal of its steam engines and its new additions, the plant will have a generating capacity of 124 megawatts.
CIPCO is a generation and transmission electric cooperative built by member cooperatives and the communities they serve. With a balanced, 24/7 energy portfolio, CIPCO and its 13 members serve more than 300,000 Iowans in 58 Iowa counties. CIPCO’s principal place of business is Des Moines, with locations in Cedar Rapids, Creston and Wilton. For more information visit www.cipco.net.