MEA Welcomes Members to New Power Plant
New Eklutna Generation Station power plant officially opened
Ceremonial ribbon cutting for the new Eklutna Generation Station power plant by Matanuska Electric Association General Manager Joe Griffith and Board President Lois Lester.
Matanuska Electric Association, Inc.
Eklutna, AK – MEA welcomed over 500 members to tour the new Eklutna Generation Station (EGS) power plant on Saturday, June 6th. The Member Open House followed a ceremonial ribbon cutting by Matanuska Electric Association (MEA) General Manager Joe Griffith and Board President Lois Lester to officially open the facility.
The opening represented a historic moment for MEA as it transitions to a self-generating utility with the capability to produce enough power for all its members. EGS can produce 171MW from its ten natural-gas-powered 17.1MW generators, with room for two more. The plant strengthens the larger Railbelt electrical system, adding grid stability and unique load following capabilities.
“We were excited to see so many members from throughout our diverse service area take us up on the offer to tour their new power plant,’ said Julie Estey, Director of Public Relations. ‘This open house and ribbon cutting ceremony acknowledge the many partners, contractors, employees and members that dedicated themselves to this important project and the resulting future benefits to members.”
The 10 new Wärtsilä engines/generators more effectively serve the coop’s primarily residential load and provide power 30% more efficiently than the machines previously serving the cooperative. These generators represent a significant reduction in fuel consumption and related costs, and are also capable of burning diesel fuel for added reliability and security. The project was responsible for nearly 300 jobs during construction, and creates 28 permanent positions for almost exclusively Alaskans. EGS keeps the lights on at the lowest cost for members and had a beneficial statewide economic impact of over 125 million dollars.
Matanuska Electric Association, Inc., Alaska's oldest and second-largest electric cooperative, is owned and operated by its 49,000 members. MEA’s service area covers more than 4,200 miles of power lines in Southcentral Alaska, and the co-op leads projects statewide to provide customers with affordable, reliable energy. www.mea.coop