MAY 1, 2018—The future of power production in Memphis is here, and it looks like the Allen Natural Gas Plant. Located at the site of the old Allen Fossil Plant, which ceased operations at the end of March, the new gas plant is now complete and went commercial yesterday at 2 p.m. CT (3 p.m. ET).
The plant features a two-on-one combined cycle unit, which means that two combustion turbine generators work in conjunction with two heat-recovery steam generators and a steam turbine generator. In the first cycle, natural gas is burned to directly power two gas turbine generators that produce electricity.
The hot exhaust normally lost during this process is captured for the second cycle, where it used to boil water into steam in the heat recovery steam generators. The steam spins an additional turbine generator to produce more electricity. The steam is then condensed back to water and recycled. Water for Allen Natural Gas Plant is being provided by Memphis Light, Gas & Water.
According to Dan Tibbs, general manager of Major Projects for TVA, methane gas from neighboring Maxson Wastewater Treatment Plant is also burned at Allen, and the site also features a 1 megawatt solar farm. Taken together, the $900 million investment will generate roughly 1,000 megawatts of power—or enough to power more than 500,000 homes and businesses in the region. It’s a great investment in Memphis that benefits the entire Valley!