News Releases

Sierra Pacific'Steamblows'New Pinon Pine Power Project

Aug 26, 1996

Sierra Pacific Power Company
Contact: Robert Sagan or Karl Walquist
Phone: (775)834-4345

For Immediate Release

In preparation for its official start-up later this year, Sierra Pacific Power Co.'s Pinon Pine Power Project (located at the Tracy generating plant site, 17 miles east of Reno) is undergoing a"steamblow"process that removes accumulated debris from the plant's piping. The debris results from the construction and installation phases of the project. For the first time, Sierra Pacific is using a new advanced"steamblow"technology that produces less strain on the plant's equipment while keeping noise to a minimum. Traditional steamblow methods, which run round-the-clock for several days, produce noise levels disruptive to workers and the surrounding community. The Pinon Pine steamblow, which began Thursday, is expected to take three to six days to complete.

Gerald W. Canning, Sierra Pacific's vice president, Wholesale Energy Business, said one of the major reasons the utility decided to go with the new process was the surrounding community."When we did the steamblow at our Valmy generating plant several years ago, we did not have to be concerned very much about disturbing our neighbors, since the plant was pretty well isolated in the desert,"Canning noted."But because we do have neighbors living relatively close to the Tracy plant, we just can't subject them to that kind of noise night and day for several days."

Nevertheless, Sierra Pacific has offered to relocate any nearby residents to hotel accommodations in Reno/Sparks for the duration of the steamblow, should they wish.

"We expect that with the lower noise levels emitted, the steamblow will not be audible at any residence,"Canning said."But we want to do the right thing in this matter, so the offer is on the table."

In a letter to nearby residents, Sierra Pacific urged them to contact the Tracy generating station should they experience excessive noise levels, promising that"corrective action will be taken immediately."

Last week, the plant reached a significant milestone when its General Electric 6FA gas turbine was fire-started and allowed to run at full speed for six minutes. It was the first time in the electric utility industry that this advanced turbine was started up successfully."This is a major milestone toward the unit's commission and start-up,"said Jack Motter, Pinon Pine project manager."It's a real tribute to the people who built this first-ever of its kind turbine, and to those who got it up and running right on schedule."

The Pinon Pine Power Project is a $220 million"clean coal technology"facility, which is 50 percent funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE also is funding half of the plant's first four years of operation and maintenance, which is estimated at $70 million. The Energy Department has stated that the project will"offer significant environmental and energy efficiency advantages over today's (electric generating) technology."

The Pinon Pine Power Project will generate 107 megawatts of electricity and serve more than 60,000 homes.