PURVIS, MISSISSIPPI – “Thursday, March 16, 2023, is the day Cooperative Energy has anticipated for more than five years,” Cooperative Energy President and CEO Jeff C. Bowman said. “The new R.D. Morrow, Sr. Generating Station achieved commercial operation as an advanced-class natural gas unit capable of producing 572 MW of electricity for the benefit of our distribution Members and the nearly 1 million Mississippians they serve.”
The new plant operates on the site of the Cooperative’s original 1978 coal facility. In June 2018, the Cooperative Energy Board of Directors announced a five-year plan to convert the plant from coal to natural gas due to improved efficiency and economic factors. As a not-for-profit, Member-owned electric utility, responsibility, reliability, and affordability were deciding factors for the project. Now complete, the plant generates more electricity more economically and provides the operational flexibility necessary to balance the increase in renewable energy sources across the country.
The Morrow Repower Project also set a new standard for employee retention. Whereas many plant conversions result in staff reductions, all Plant Morrow employees were retained throughout the project to assist with demolition, construction, and plant conversion activities, yielding a positive local economic impact and overall project savings. The work also provided employees with the unique experience of learning the innerworkings of the plant, benefitting future plant operations.
“Plant Morrow represents forward-thinking energy solutions for our distribution Members at a competitive price,” said Cooperative Energy’s Senior Vice President of Power Generation Mark Smith. “Equally as important, the new Plant Morrow represents years of grit and determination by many Cooperative Energy employees for the benefit of our 11 Member systems and those they serve across the state.”
Cooperative Energy employees collectively invested nearly 300,000 work hours in the Morrow Repower Project with a nearly perfect safety record, yielding more than $12 million in project savings.
“March 16 marks the beginning of a new era for Plant Morrow and Cooperative Energy,” said Bowman. “On the footprint of our legacy coal plant now stands one of the most efficient natural gas-fired power plant in the southeast. The new plant was completed ahead of schedule and below budget. The Morrow Repower Project is one that will benefit Mississippians for years to come.”
- MISO is now controlling and dispatching the baseload unit.
- Plant is powered by Siemens 9000HL advanced-class combustion turbine technology paired with an existing steam turbine.
- The plant uses a heat-recovery power strategy that utilizes the thermal power from the new gas turbine in existing plant thermal systems. This enables the plant to achieve the efficiency of new combined-cycle plants and reduce its previous carbon footprint by half.
About Cooperative Energy
Cooperative Energy generates and transmits electricity to 11 Member-owned electric distribution cooperatives. Known as the Power of 12, Cooperative Energy and its Member cooperatives work together to provide, safe, reliable, and affordable power from the Mississippi Delta to the Coast. The 11 electric cooperatives own and maintain more than 58,000 miles of distribution lines and provide service to approximately 445,000 home and businesses throughout 55 counties.