City and state officials gathered Wednesday at a site off the Glenn Highway near Muldoon Road in East Anchorage to break ground on "Plant 2a," the city's newest power generating facility.
The $275 million plant will be powered by natural gas and will generate 120 megawatts of power, about three quarters of ML&P's generating capacity. It will sit next to the George M. Sullivan Power Plant 2.
ML&P says that the equipment at the new plant will be 35 percent more efficient than the utility's current turbines. It's expected to save more than $13 million in annual natural gas costs, and the new plant should last for 40 to 50 years.
Quanta Power Generation is in charge of construction. The Colorado firm is expected to start work on the plant's foundation this week, if weather permits, according to ML&P General Manager James Trent.
The new plant should be completed by the summer of 2016.
Last fall, ML&P asked the Regulatory Commission of Alaska to allow a 31.5 percent rate increase, which was primarily to pay for the utility's investment in another new power plant off Minnesota Drive. ML&P expects to request another increase after Plant 2a is finished.
By NATHANIEL HERZ