University of Alaska power plant to begin operations in May - InfoNews

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University of Alaska power plant to begin operations in May

April 09, 2019 - 6:50 AM

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - A university power plant in Alaska is scheduled to start commercial operations in May, six months behind its original target date, officials said.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks' heat and power plant is having equipment tested to make sure it is ready for operations, according to Doug Smith, a project manager for contracting firm Haskell-Davis Joint Venture, the Daily News-Miner reported Monday.

The boiler fired on coal for the first time in December, and in early March the plant was running at 100% capacity, Smith told the Energy for All Alaska Task Force in Fairbanks last week.

"When the plant runs, it runs quite well," Smith said.

Required equipment testing is about 40% complete and the project is expected to finish within its $248 million budget, he said.

About eight significant complications have delayed commercial operations, including design flaws in part of the boiler and incorrectly fitted or defective parts that needed replacement, Smith said.

Officials are still awaiting final reports assessing an electrical failure in the transformer that runs the plant's variable frequency drive, but the failure was unusual and appeared to be a manufacturer flaw, Smith said.

The plant's safety record to date ranks above the national Occupational Safety and Health Administration average, Smith said.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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