Columbia Generating Station sets new generation record - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Columbia Generating Station sets new generation record

Posted: Updated:

RICHLAND, WA – Columbia Generating Station produced more clean, nuclear energy for the Northwest power grid during 2016 than any other year in its 32-year history. Columbia sent more than 9.6 million megawatt-hours of electricity to the grid, beating the previous generation record set in 2014 (9.5 million MWhrs). Columbia has set new generation records four out of the last five years.

“Columbia’s low-cost power is absolutely critical if we’re to achieve this state’s and the region’s clean energy goals,” said Mark Reddemann, Energy Northwest CEO. “I’m proud of the team for their hard work in setting this latest plant record.”

The record came despite two setbacks during the year: an unplanned outage in March, the first in more than six years for the station; and an equipment malfunction at the Bonneville Power Administration’s Ashe Substation, which required Columbia to power down for a week last month.

“The team rallied after both instances, there’s no doubt about it,” said Brad Sawatzke, chief nuclear officer. “We continue to focus on performance excellence and the team’s response to adversity is one way it shines through.”

Columbia began 2016 setting a monthly generation record (860,813 MWhrs), breaking the record set the December before. In April, the American Public Power Association awarded Energy Northwest first place in its Safety Awards of Excellence. Energy Northwest’s APPA safety score was more than ten times better than the second-place finisher in its category. In December, the state’s chamber of commerce, the Association of Washington Business, named EN its 2016 Employer of the Year.

Columbia’s electricity output has been steadily increasing over the past five years in part due to work performed during the plant’s biennial refueling and maintenance outages, work that has added roughly 40 megawatts to its capacity since 2011. Columbia now has an output of 1,190 megawatts (gross) while operating at a capacity factor above 93 percent since 2012. Columbia will shut down for its next refueling and maintenance outage May 13.