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McNeil Sets Record 93-Day Stretch of Continuous Operation

For immediate release
Contact:               John Irving, Manager of Generation
(802) 865-7482

McNeil Sets Record 93-Day Stretch of Continuous Operation
In February, Plant Broke Capacity Record Set in 1984

Burlington, VT – Earlier today, McNeil Generating Station completed its longest continual operating stretch – 93 days – in the plant’s 30-year history. Operators took the plant offline on Friday morning in preparation for its annual spring maintenance outage.

“Our hats are off to the dedicated team at McNeil Station,” said Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger. “McNeil is a key part of BED’s achievement of sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable generation.”

“It is a real testament to the men and women of McNeil that they kept the 30-year old plant operating at nearly full tilt for over three months during the dead of winter,” said Neale Lunderville, General Manager of Burlington Electric Department, which is the operator and 50% owner of McNeil, along with Green Mountain Power (31%) and Vermont Public Power Supply Authority (19%). “Because we were able to sell electricity into the market around the clock during February and March, we were able to offset our power costs. This is a big win for our customers.”

In February, McNeil ran at a 99.2% capacity factor, which is a new record for the plant. The old record was 98.7% set in November 1984. (The capacity factor is the ratio of a plant’s actual output to its potential output over a period of time.) McNeil produced a total of 33,334 net MWH of power in February and operated for a total of 672.0 hours or 100% of the total hours during the month. 

March was also a great month for McNeil. The plant ran at a 94.6% capacity factor. It produced a total of 35,135 net MWH of power and operated for a total of 743 hours or 100% of the total hours in March. 

“I’m proud of our dedicated team at McNeil,” said John Irving, Manager of Generation for Burlington Electric and chief of McNeil since 1985. “During our annual spring maintenance outage, we will make major repairs to the plant that are not possible when the plant is operating. These upgrades will help ensure that McNeil runs safely and reliably for years to come.”

The annual spring maintenance outage began earlier today. During this outage, workers at McNeil will replace the plant’s superheater, which is the core of the main boiler used to produce steam for the turbine. The superheater has not been replaced since the plant was commissioned in 1984.

McNeil Generating Station is a 50 MW biomass plant. The sustainably harvested wood chips used to fire the boiler come from within 60 miles of the station. Ninety-five percent of those chips come from logging residue and cull material created when harvesting higher value wood products. Harvests are conducted in accordance with strict environmental standards specified by the Vermont Public Service Board.



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