Special to The Hays Daily News

Wind turbines have become a dominant feature on the Kansas landscape, with many utilities, including Midwest Energy, taking advantage of wind energy. But when the turbines aren’t turning, it’s up to natural gas generation plants, like the Goodman Energy Center at Hays, to fire up at a moment’s notice to ensure a seamless flow of electricity.  

That level of reliability, to constantly be ready to go from a cold-start to full capacity in just minutes every day year-round, is why Midwest Energy’s Goodman Energy Center was recognized this month by NAES Corporation for Consistent Superior Performance in 2013.  NAES operates Goodman Energy Center, and several other electric generation facilities, under contract for Midwest Energy.  This marks the 3rd straight year the plant has won the award.       

“NAES ranks each of the plants it operates on availability factor, forced outage factors, number of unit trips and personnel turnover, and the Goodman center has seen consistent improvement in all areas year after year,” said Bill Dowling, Vice President of Engineering and Energy Supply at Midwest Energy.  “The NAES team at Goodman is second to none – whenever we call upon the plant to generate, they’re ready to deliver.”

Mike Prindle, NAES’ Plant Manager at Goodman, credits his 9-man crew with keeping the plant ready to go at a moment’s notice.  

“These engines require a lot of maintenance to be in peak operating condition,” Prindle said.  “Every one of our technicians here sets the bar high professionally, and I couldn’t be more proud that this team continues to push themselves to improve each year,” he said.

The Goodman Energy Center is a 75-megawatt single-cycle natural gas generation facility.  The facility’s nine Wärtsilä engines generates more than 8 MW of electricity each, or enough electricity to run roughly 1,000 homes each.  The facility cost $62 million to build, and entered full service in July 2008.