Arapahoe Station began operating in 1950 when Unit 1 went into service. It was followed by Units 2 and 3 in 1951, and Unit 4 in 1955. Units 1 and 2 (45 megawatts each) were retired Jan. 1, 2003, as part of Xcel Energy’s voluntary Denver Metro Emissions Reduction Plan.
Located in an urban environment, Arapahoe Station is home to a variety of wildlife, including foxes and migrating birds. The plant also shares its property with several other industrial facilities, making the best use of the available land and electric facilities. Air Liquide, an organization specializing in providing industrial and medical gases, operates a liquid gas processing facility on site. Southwest Generation owns and operates two 40 MW natural gas-fired combustion turbines and a 43 MW steam turbine at the site. Xcel Energy purchases Southwest Generation's electric output.
Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act: In spring of 2010, the Colorado Legislature passed the Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act, which we supported. The legislation requires regulated utilities, like Xcel Energy, to work to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants. As a result, Arapahoe Unit 3 will be shut down and Unit 4 will switch to natural gas by 2013.
Air Emissions: Air emissions are controlled on Arapahoe Station’s Units 3 and 4 by baghouses. Baghouses act like giant vacuum cleaners, removing particulate emissions from the flue gas by more than 99 percent. Unit 4 also has low-NOx burners that reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by about 40 percent and dry sorbent injection (DSI) that reduces sulfur dioxide by about 20 percent. DSI is also installed on Unit 3. In 2005, a closed loop ash dewatering system was added to the plant. By separating ash and water in tanks instead of ponds, water is recycled back into the system for reuse and ensures water entering the South Platte River meets stream standards.
Arapahoe Station maintains a rest stop along the South Platte River Bike Trail and hosts a water station for bicycle commuters during the Denver Regional Council of Government’s annual Bike-to-Work Day. Plant employees are involved in beautification efforts, planting dozens of trees on plant property to support the City of Denver’s Tree by Tree - the Mile High Million tree planting initiative and The Park People’s Denver Digs Trees program. In addition, the plant collaborates with local emergency agencies and provides space for mutual training exercises.
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