Healy power plant back online after 16 years

A Healy power plant is back online after sitting inoperative for more than a decade.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that crews from Golden Valley Electric Association started up the Healy Unit 2 power plant on Thursday.

Workers spent more than a year updating the $300 million facility. GVEA Vice President of Power Supply Lynn Thompson says they evaluated each valve, rung and pipe, completing checklist that included thousands of items.

The plant was supposed to burn low-grade oil using an experimental technique to significantly cut pollutants. But it went dormant in 1999 after two years of sporadic use plagued by reliability and safety problems.

GVEA officials say the facility will help replace expensive oil-fired power generation. They say the more predictable price of coal will stabilize the utility’s rates.