VIDEO: PJM evaluates expansion of gas-fired Zion Energy Center in Illinois

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Zion Energy LLC is looking to uprate the three combustion turbines at its gas-fired power plant in Illinois, said PJM Interconnection in a May 19 study on the project, which is covered by PJM queue #Y3-013.

Zion is operating a three-unit facility and has requested to be studied as a 3×1 combined cycle facility with an additional 90 MW of capacity (30 MW additions to each of the three combustion turbines). Currently, each of the three combustion turbines has 165 MW of capacity interconnection rights (CIRs), and the Y2-103 project adds an additional 360 MW.

“With the addition of the CT uprates, Zion Energy Center will be granted an aggregate total of 945 MW of CIRs,” said the study. “Project #Y3-013 was evaluated for compliance with reliability criteria for summer peak conditions in 2017. Impacts on the MISO member transmission systems are not included in this analysis, but they will be included in the Facilities Study, which may reveal upgrades needed in the MISO system not identified in this System Impact Study.” This study is a mid-point in PJM’s queue process.

PJM on May 19 issued a second study, this one under queue #Y2-103, that said: “Zion Energy, LLC is operating a 3 unit natural gas combustion turbine generating facility and has requested to be studied as a 3×1 combined cycle unit with an additional 360 MW of capacity. Currently, each of the three combustion turbines have 165 MW of CIRs. With the addition of the [heat recovery steam generator] and steam unit (this queue position), Zion Energy Center will be granted an aggregate total of 855 MW of CIRs. Project #Y2-103 was evaluated for compliance with reliability criteria for summer peak conditions in 2016. Impacts on the MISO member transmission systems are not included in this analysis, but they will be included in the Facilities Study, which may reveal upgrades needed in the MISO system not identified in this System Impact Study.”

“The Zion Energy Center is located in Zion, Illinois on a 114-acre site. The construction of the plant was coordinated and managed by Calpine using a general contractor. These state-of-the-art simple-cycle peaking units are designed to operate on either natural gas or low sulfur distillate oil to ensure maximum operational flexibility and reliability, providing additional power to consumers during peak periods of electricity demand. The capacity of the three-unit facility is sold per long-term contracts to WE Energies,” according to Calpine.

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Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy's Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication's editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University.

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