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Fredericktown Energy Center facing delays

Gas turbine facility was expected to go online in spring of 2012

Several weeks after the anticipated activation date has passed, the new gas turbine facility in Fredericktown has yet to produce a single kilowatt of electricity.

City Officials hoped to have the facility online before the peak of the 2012 summer season. A press release issued by the City of Fredericktown January 8 stated, “The turbines are expected to be in operation by spring 2012.”

“There have been some delays,” said John Grotzinger, Chief Operating Officer of the Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission (MJMEUC) and the Missouri Public Energy Pool (MoPEP).  “Primarily the delays have not been in the construction of the turbine, but in the upgrades to the gas line to service the turbine.”

Grotzinger said the construction of the turbine itself is complete and the delay has nothing to do with the work being done by the City of Fredericktown or Sargent Construction of Fredericktown, which constructed the facility. According to the Sargent Construction website, the building was completed with the turbines in place June 1, 2012.

“I just got an update from them (CenterPoint Energy-Mississippi River Transmission LLC) indicating they will have the upgrades completed by the end of this month, Grotzinger said. “I won’t say that is an absolute, but that is the latest projection they have given me.”

In 2011 a partnership between the City of Fredericktown, the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) of Fredericktown, and (MoPEP) was formed to offer an advanced method of providing electrical power to potential tenants of the 150-acre business park.  

“I think the problem has been solved, it’s just a matter of ordering the equipment and getting it installed,” said Stan Gilliam, Utility Manager for the City of Fredericktown. “Some of the high pressure gas equipment has a long lead time, so we are just waiting for it to come in. As far as we know the City is ahead of the game on everything we were supposed to do out there.”

The City has also provided a parcel of land to install a metering station. That unforeseen action was approved by the council May 29. Two non-exclusive utility easements were granted to CenterPoint for the construction of gas metering facilities at the new gas turbine and for the construction of a gas line at the facility.

“They (CenterPoint) asked for additional ground beyond what was originally agreed to in order to put a pressure regulator station in,” said Gilliam. “We had that done several months ago. That was something that was unexpected, but the council did approve that.”

The projected $16 million project is expected to provide approximately 27 megawatts of peaking energy from two gas-fired Titan 130 generator turbines. The addition of this low-cost peaking generating facility will supplement the 35-city MoPEP power pool.

Power from this project will be provided to the cities of Fredericktown, Jackson, and Farmington – along with 32 other municipal utilities across the state – through a wholesale power supply contract with the municipal-led MoPEP power pool administered by MJMEUC.

MoPEP was formed by its 35-participating member cities to generate or purchase wholesale power collectively and create greater economies of scale. Each city has a voting representative on the governing board.

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