If you’ve driven by our power plant located at 1128 W Avenue A, you will notice there is another project underway.  This plant is home to three generators each capable of producing 50MWs of power. Unit 1 is receiving a little TLC this spring with a planned combustion inspection. All generating units at BPU continue to see an increase in usage to support the generation needs of our regional market.

A combustion inspection is a preventative maintenance activity that focuses on inspection (and sometimes repair) of the generating unit’s combustion equipment. Under the direction of Gunner Peterson, Superintendent of Power Plant Maintenance, BPU’s maintenance team dismantled the combustors and thoroughly cleaned and inspected their internal parts. Any items needing attention are able to be repaired “in-house” by our very talented maintenance team. Project is expected to wrap up by second week in April.

BPU is considered a peaking power plant. “Peakers,” are power plants that typically start quickly and run only when there is a high demand, known as peak demand for electricity. The McPherson BPU has enjoyed an interconnected partnership with Evergy since the 1960’s (then Kansas Power & Light, now Evergy) where the McPherson BPU agrees to serve as an on-call peak provider for Evergy and in return, receive the opportunity to purchase electricity from Evergy’s “base” electric generators. This contract is currently in-place until 2039. McPherson BPU’s competitive and reliable rates are credited, in large part, to our relationship with Evergy.

In 2014 the McPherson BPU generation fleet became part of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP)’s dispatching territory which has dramatically increased the starts and operational hours for our generators. The SPP’s integrated market has increased usage for all BPU generators; for this unit, the usage or number of hours fired has increased by approximately 83X from 2013 to 2023. In 2013, before SPP’s Integrated Market, this generator ran 7.40 hours generating 268 MW of power, in 2023 this unit was fired 613.7 hours and generated 15,397 MW of power .