Riverton combined cycle unit in Kansas starts power production

The Empire District Electric Company recently celebrated the completion of the $168 million Unit 12 combined cycle project at its Riverton power plant. The project is said to be the first large-frame combined cycle unit in Kansas.

The project was started in 2013 as part of the company’s plan to meet new Environmental Protection Agency mandates related to mercury, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter. The project involved the upgrade of a simple cycle natural gas unit, originally installed in 2007. The process required the installation of a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG), a steam turbine generator, auxiliary boiler, cooling tower, and other associated equipment.

The new combined cycle operation boosts energy output by about 67 percent while using very little additional fuel. This lowers emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide by about 95 percent, carbon by about 40 percent, and eliminates emissions of mercury and particulate matter when compared to the recently retired coal units at the site. Burns and McDonnell served as the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor for the project.

Speaking at the dedication, Blake Mertens, Vice President of Energy Supply and Delivery Operations, said bringing the project in ahead of schedule and under budget "translates into approximately $1 million in annual savings to Empire customers.” Mertens also said the Riverton 12 Combined Cycle project "will help control fuel costs, lower emissions, and ensure reliable energy for many years to come.”

Based in Joplin, Missouri, the Empire District Electric Company is an investor-owned, regulated utility providing electric, natural gas and water service, with nearly 218,000 customers in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.