Fifty-five years later, the Imperial Irrigation District has in a place a more efficient, cost saving and new equipment for their repower plant Station 3.
This project cost $250 million and they say that the rates didn’t go up to absorb that cost.
The control room was first placed in 1957. Now the control room has high tech computers monitoring the steam equipment.
"Still learning still getting the bugs worked out," Roger Pendly, IID employee said.
Pendly has worked for the imperial irrigation district for 16 years. he says the new system is great.
"It’s something new every day. You learn something new every day with this unit," Pendly said.
Ten years ago IID recognized old equipment needed upgrading and the facility needed to keep up with the growth in the valley.
Unit 3 went from 44 megawatts to now an output of 140 megawatts. the largest project for IID.
"We need infrastructure that ultimately will keep the power or the lights on even when renewables aren’t able to produce electricity," IID manager, Henryk Olstowski said.
Think of the plant as a teapot. Its boils water, collects the steam and produce electricity.
The project generated hundreds of temporary construction jobs for the valley.
"It uses only about one third of water that the prior unit used to produce a megawatt hour of electricity," Olstowski said.
Olstowski says making it 40% more efficient than the old unit. He says making it their cleanest and greenest plant.
"So much more efficient some of the existing units that we have that we’re saving about a million dollars a month on fuel cost," Olstowski said.
IID says they’d like to upgrade all the other equipment but that takes the board to make those decisions.