Think you know what heavy equipment looks like? Think again. Some extra heavy metal is creeping its way toward Matanuska Electric Association's new Eklutna Generation Station power plant.
The first of ten new dual-fuel power generators has arrived in Anchorage and has finally completed its slow journey from the port to the construction site. The rest are slated for arrival by the end of October.
The engines, built by the Wärtsilä corporation of Finland, are set up to burn natural gas, but in a pinch, they can burn diesel, according to MEA. Each engine weighs 390 tons and after taking a short ride on the Alaska Railroad, has to be eased into its new neighborhood by a 144-wheeled truck, essentially a self-propelled flatbed trailer.
In 2007, the power cooperative's members voted to construct a power plant rather than continue buying electricity wholesale from Chugach Electric, based in Anchorage, Alaska's largest city. The plant, whose capacity MEA says is 170 megawatts, is scheduled to come online Jan. 1, 2015, the day after MEA's purchasing contract with Chugach ends.