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IREA investigating operations at Comanche 3 plant

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By Gabrielle Porter

The Intermountain Rural Electric Association has commissioned an investigation into a coal-fueled power plant it partially owns that has experienced ongoing problems since opening in 2010.

IREA, a part-owner in the Pueblo-based Comanche 3 plant, joined with one of its co-owners to hire an engineering firm to look into whether the plant is being operated properly, said IREA general manager Patrick Mooney. Mooney declined to name the engineering firm and has no timeline for the investigation’s completion.

The plant has experienced a series of boiler leaks and other problems since opening in July 2010, and has achieved near-capacity production in only seven of the 23 months since, according to IREA spokesman Bill Schroeder.

IREA spent $388 million for its 25 percent portion of the plant. Aspen- and Vail-based Holy Cross Energy, which is partnering with IREA to commission the study, owns 8 percent. Xcel Energy owns 67 percent of the plant and operates it, and will not conduct an investigation into the plant’s operations.

For the complete story, check out the July 18 print edition of the Courier.