Outage at Craig Station concludes, provides boost to local economy | CraigDailyPress.com

Outage at Craig Station concludes, provides boost to local economy

Patrick Kelly

A routine outage at Tri-State Generation and Transmission's Craig Station recently concluded.

Routine outages at Craig Station don't only keep the plant up and running. The event brings a workforce of hundreds to Craig — filling hotels and injecting a little extra cash into the local economy.

"There was probably over 200 people brought in for the outage," Craig Station Manager Rich Thompson said.

This year's outage was conducted on Unit 1 and involved routine maintenance in addition to checking on emissions controls.

Thompson said crews had been working on changing some components on the unit's low-pressure turbine that needed attention after an emergency backup oil pump failure in 2014 caused some damage.

"Now we're back on schedule," Thompson said.

Major outages take place over six weeks and rotate between the three units each year. Minor outages are usually two to three weeks.

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Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association spent about $9 million on this year's outage, and although the project requires a lot of additional labor, Thompson said it is difficult to keep track of the source of all the contractors.

"People travel from so many different places," he said. "You don't know if they're locals or if they're people that are locals who have been working away from here who come back."

Next year, the plant will conduct an outage on Unit 2, which is also when a new selective catalytic reduction system for removing sulfur dioxide will be hooked up. The 2018 outage will be performed on Unit 3.

Thompson said the outages are important for maintaining equipment that would fail otherwise and keeping up with emissions standards to ensure the units are running "as efficiently as possible."

"I'm just glad that we got the control system checked out and go the unit to full load this weekend," he said.

Randy Looper, co-owner of the Elk Run Inn, said out-of-town contractors occupied only one of his rooms because he was booked full with hunters, but he saw plenty of interest.

"I had a bunch of people call," he said. "I mean I had a ton of people call but I had only one I could do anything for."

Craig City Councilor Derek Duran mentioned the outage at the Oct. 25 Craig City Council meeting.

"If you get on Ranney Street it's a nonstop traffic jam from here to the power plant," he said.

Duran said he appreciates the community's relationship with the plant and the economic benefits it provides.

"Little boosts like that always help," he said.

Unit 1 at Craig Station will be retired in the next decade based on an agreement between the coal-fired power plant's owners, government regulators and conservation groups.

As part of a proposed revision to the Colorado Visibility and Regional Haze State Implementation Plan (SIP), the 427-megawatt unit will be out of commission by Dec. 31, 2025.

Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.