Xcel Energy is seeking approval to add a new 168MW natural gas-fired combustion turbine at its Jones Generating Station near Lubbock, Texas.

The company, through its Amarillo-based subsidiary Southwestern Public Service Company (SPS), has filed an application to amend its certificate of convenience and necessity at the Public Utility Commission of Texas, opening a process to prove the merits of installing another generator in the SPS service area.

The Jones station, located southeast of Lubbock, is a natural gas-fueled, steam-electric generating station with two operating units – Jones Unit 1 completed in 1971 and Jones Unit 2 completed in 1974. The plant currently has a generating capacity of 486MW.

Pending regulatory approval, Xcel Energy plans to build Jones Unit 3 by 2012, equipped with a Siemens Energy gas combustion turbine with a summer capacity rating of approximately 168MW. The project will cost approximately $116m.

Riley Hill, president and CEO of SPS, said: “Our regional oil and gas industries have expanded even as the national economy slumped, and we know that these and other industries are planning more development and more jobs over the next few years. We want to prepare for this anticipated growth with additional resources that are clean, reliable and cost-effective.

“Another benefit is the new turbine will help us respond more quickly to changes in the region’s growing wind generation output. This type of technology makes sense at this time.”

Xcel Energy’s Texas and New Mexico service area covers more than 50,000 square miles, including most of the Texas Panhandle, Texas South Plains region, and eastern and southeastern New Mexico. Peak electricity demand in this region is currently about 5,000MW.