After 2 Years, Power Plant Back Online

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 @ 06:10 PM gHale


After two years and more than $200 million in repairs, Unit 3 of Xcel Energy’s Sherco coal-fired power plant near Becker, MN, is back online.

Unit 3 suffered “catastrophic failure” during routine maintenance in November 2011, according to a statement.

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“Restoration following such a significant event on such a large unit was extremely complex,” said Dave Sparby, a senior vice president at Xcel Energy. “Plant employees, contractors and vendors worked thousands of hours to safely and efficiently return the 884 megawatt unit to service.”

The Sherco plant, which comprises three separate power-generating units, is Xcel’s largest plant in the Midwest. It produces 2,400 megawatts of electricity — enough to serve 2 million households.

An investigation into the Nov. 19, 2011, failure attributed it to “extensive cracking in one row of turbine blades due to stress corrosion,” the company’s statement said. The failure was the result of its design, rather than how they operated and maintained it.

Xcel Energy and Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, which holds a 41 percent stake, jointly own Sherco 3.



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