Ocotillo Power Plant

Constructed in 1960, the Ocotillo Power Plant is located in Tempe, Arizona, near the campus of Arizona State University. The plant is both owned and managed by Arizona Public Service Company. Ocotillo is powered by its two steam turbines, installed at the time it was built, as well as two combustion turbines that were installed in the 1970s. Together these engines yield around 340 megawatts of power, which is enough to serve 340,000 homes in and around Tempe. Arizona Public Service Company's Solar Technology and Research Center, otherwise known as STAR, is located at the Ocotillo Plant. It studies and develops solar and other forms of renewable energy and is one of the most prestigious establishments of its kind. The Ocotillo Power Plant may be one of many facilities in the United States that made use of asbestos because of its extraordinary insulating ability. Over the short term, it served as an effective protection against the heat and chemicals that might be found in such facilities. However, as time progressed it became apparent to all that very critical health issues were associated with exposure to it. When asbestos fibers are ingested or inhaled, they cause serious illness like asbestosis and mesothelioma cancer. Workers who were exposed to asbestos on the job were far more likely to develop these conditions. Today the EPA makes it known that asbestos exposure is dangerous, and employers and lawmakers have been forced to take steps to protect workers against the troubles it might cause. However, unarmed with this information during early plant operation years, workers did not have the protective gear needed to protect them from this asbestos material. Since diseases that are caused by asbestos exposure are often hard to differentiate from others, former employees of the Ocotillo Power Plant, and their families, are encouraged to speak to their doctors and inform them of their past exposure to asbestos. References: APS Generation EPA