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The Riverton power plant is entering a new phase as the first combined cycle power plant in Kansas by retiring two coal-fired units that had operated since the 1950s.
To comply with new emission standards for mercury, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Empire District Electric Co. has converted the plant from coal to natural gas.
The construction of the combined cycle power plant, which should become operational by the middle of next year, will have an estimated cost of $165 million to $175 million. The company is installing a steam turbine to capture the exhaust of its natural gas turbine and improve the efficiency of the latter by up to 67 percent.
The combined cycle refers to running two such turbines together. The combined cycle addition will replace the energy production capacity of the retired coal-fired units. The natural gas unit that was installed at the plant in 2005 was designed to be converted into a combined cycle unit. Plans call for the natural gas unit to be shut down next week to complete the conversion process.
Blake Mertens, vice president of energy supply and delivery operations said, "The high efficiency of this configuration will help control fuel costs, lower emissions and ensure reliable energy for our customers. We are proud to continue a tradition of innovative and economical power generation at Riverton dating back to 1905.''