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New TID power plant testing well
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The Turlock Irrigation District’s new, in-construction Almond 2 Power Plant is performing beyond expectations in initial trials.

Generator testing kicked off last week for the district’s new power plant, a major milestone as the project nears completion.

“Overall, testing is going well and the units are exceeding General Electric's guaranteed performance levels,” said Brian LaFollette, TID assistant general manager of power supply. “Obviously, testing and commissioning is also a time to fine-tune systems and this is an iterative process and A2PP is no exception in this regard. Last week’s testing went well.”

The $200 million, 174-megawatt natural-gas power plant, located adjacent to the existing Almond Power Plant in Ceres, is the first in the world to use General Electric’s new LM6000PG series gas turbines. The state-of-the-art generators can begin producing power in minutes, where TID’s existing generators can take hours to start up.

According to TID, the new power plant will reduce emissions, protect against power outages, and help meet balancing authority requirements. As one of five state-approved balancing authorities, the district must guarantee sufficient reserve generation capacity to meet grid demands, currently forcing TID to run existing generators below maximum potentials.

A2PP reached mechanical completion on March 20, with final completion of non-critical tasks expected June 8. Testing and tuning of the generators will continue through the coming weeks, with emissions testing expected to be completed with ease.

“There will be continuous testing and analysis of these units for several months - even for a full year - as is common for a new plant with the latest in best available technology,” LaFollette said.

This article has been corrected. An earlier version of the article mistakenly stated that the Almond 2 Power Plant cost $485 million; it actually cost $200 million.