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Puget Sound Energy research leads to natural gas plant

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Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has purchased a 270 megawatt natural gas-fired power plant in northwest Washington to help the utility meet its customers' long-term electricity needs.

"Natural gas is a clean, abundant, and economic resource, whether you're heating a home, cooking a meal or generating electricity," said Paul Wiegand, senior vice president of energy operations, PSE. "With the addition of this plant to our supply portfolio, our customers gain another cost-effective, environmentally responsible source of power."

The facility employs combined-cycle, co-generation technology that can generate electricity first from its natural gas-fired turbines, then from a steam-driven turbine drawing exhaust heat from the two gas-fired units. The two-stage process boosts operating efficiency, lowers fuel costs and reduces air emissions.

Built in 1994, PSE has purchased the plant's power output through 2011. Research indicated that utility ownership of the facility will provide lower-cost power to PSE customers. PSE owns three other natural gas-fired power plants -- 147 MW, 167 MW, and 125 MW – but still needs to add approximately 160 MW of additional resources by the end of 2017 to meet its customers' winter peak demands.

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