Power plant unit to go offline soon

Christina M. Currie

The Holiday Inn has reserved a block of rooms to accommodate some of the 250 to 300 workers who are expected to be in Craig for the Craig Station Power Plant outage.

Where the rest will stay is up to GE, the contractor that was awarded the bid to complete the outage.

“We don’t have anything to do with their housing,” Tri-State spokesman Jim VanSomeren said.

Unit 3 of the power plant will be taken offline Sept. 24 through Nov. 6 for maintenance.

“Basically it’s a big tune-up,” VanSomeren said.

He is the only Tri-State official who would comment.

Craig Station is Colorado’s largest coal-fired generating station. Operated by Tri-State, about 300 people work at the 1,264-megawatt plant. Craig Station Units 1 and 2 make up the Yampa Project, owned by Tri-State and four other regional utilities. Tri-State is the sole lease holder of Unit 3.

Unit 3 was built in 1984. Each unit undergoes a major outage about every five years.

“We will have that unit torn down from the top to the bottom,” VanSomeren said.

Unit 3 wasn’t expected to be taken down for repair and maintenance until next year, but was bumped up on the schedule to coincide with the installation of a new turbine rotor that will increase production by 10 megawatts.

VanSomeren said the unit operates without a problem and that the outage is considered routine maintenance.

Although some of the plant’s employees will do outage-related work, a majority of the project will be completed by GE and its subcontractors.

VanSomeren said the plant doesn’t have the manpower to complete the project.

“We run it for a living, but we don’t necessarily have the skill sets to tear it down, do the work and put it back together,” he said.

Outages are scheduled when the demand for electricity is low — spring or fall.

“We will have adequate resources to meet the demand during the outage,” VanSomeren.

He couldn’t say what the cost of the outage would be.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or

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