VEYO – A renewable energy project near Veyo was officially commissioned Tuesday as civic and energy officials were introduced to the Veyo Heat Recovery Project.
The project is a 7.8 megawatt recovered energy generation facility located adjacent to the Veyo natural gas compressor station owned by Kern River Gas Transmission Company.
“What it does is take the heat generated from the Kerns River Project and captures that heat and generates power out of it,” Washington City Manager Roger Carter said. “It’s about 7.8 megawatts of power that otherwise would just be dispersed up in the sky (and now) is being generated into additional power.”
Washington City is one of seven municipal power utilities that have invested in the project and will be drawing power from it accordingly through its partnership with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, or UAMPS.
Washington City will be drawing approximately 1 megawatt of power from the Veyo facility. Other Utah cities that invested in the facility include Santa Clara, Kaysville, Lehi, Logan and Spring City, the Truckee Donner Public Utility District in California also draws power from the facility.
The Project reached commercial operation May 26, 2016, under a $22.3 million engineering, procurement and construction contract with the Ormat Nevada, Inc., and was completed in less than eight months from groundbreaking.
The project was financed through what are called “green bonds,” UAMPS CEO Doug Hunter said. “We were the first generation facility in the United States to actually use green bonds. These are used for projects that have no environmental consequences. Since we’re taking waste heat off of this pipeline and turning it into electricity, it qualified under that.”
The general cost of the electricity is anticipated to be around 5.6 cents a kilowatt hour, with each participating city being billed for their percentage of the output, Hunter said.
The heat used for the project originates from the compressors used to keep gas moving through a pipeline that stretches from southwestern Wyoming, into Utah, Nevada and California.
The project consists of an Ormat Energy Converter, a Waste Heat Oil Heater and a various balance of plant subsystems. An external heat source from the exhaust gas of the three gas turbines at the Veyo gas compressor station heats thermal oil, which then transfers the heat to the OEC. The organic working fluid is a hydrocarbon.
“So this 45,000 horsepower gas compressor is now on the back end of it, from the exhaust, producing an additional 7.8 megawatts of clean, sustainable, indigenous, without any water requirement, energy,” said Robert Sullivan of Ormat Technologies.
The project also lacks a carbon footprint due to it’s lack of emissions, he said.
It’s a great project, Sullivan said, and noted Ormat has done similar projects at glass factories, cement plants, smelters, steel mills and other facilities that create heat exhaust that would otherwise be lost.
The recovered energy generation facility is also considered a baseload renewable power source as it is consistent when compared to intermittent power sources like wind and solar.
“What you need is base load energy that can run effectively 24/7 so it’s available when (wind and solar) aren’t,” said Laura Nelson, who acts as Gov. Gary Herbert’s energy advisor. “This project definitely represents base load energy.”
In addition to providing green power, projects like the Veyo heat-capture facility are necessary to help diversify Utah’s energy portfolio, Nelson said.
“As a state we’ve been very dependent on fossil energy and it’s been a good thing,” she said. “(but) a portfolio in energy that’s heavily reliant on a single source may not provide the greatest resiliency moving forward. So more diversity in our energy portfolio is key.”
The Veyo Heat Recovery Project in Utah is the second REG unit installed along the Kern River natural gas pipeline.
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