West Phoenix Power Plant

West Phoenix Power Plant is located in the southwestern part of Phoenix, Arizona. Arizona Public Service (APS) owns and operates the facility. The plant serves as a key source of power for the Phoenix area. Construction of the plant was completed in 1930. During its early years, the plant’s generator was capable of producing about 18 megawatts, and it provided electricity for Phoenix and the surrounding area. Today, the power plant is able to generate up to 1,000 megawatts of power from its seven generating devices. The plant runs on natural gas, combustion turbine units, and combined cycle units.

The power plant has five generating combined-cycle units. In this type of unit, a gas turbine creates power, but the heat that otherwise would be exhausted is recycled through the system and re-used for the steam turbine units. West Phoenix’s gas turbines are similar to those used for jet propulsion. In a gas turbine, fuel injects into the combustion chambers. This process causes a rotary engine to turn. The rotation compresses the fuel, and exhausts it through the nozzle. The turbine’s rotation creates power throughout the unit. The gas turbines used at West Phoenix are generally less expensive to operate than those found in nuclear plants and coal-powered plants. The recycling of heated exhaust is also efficient in that it can generate more energy from what would otherwise be wasted.

Up until the 1970s, West Phoenix Power Plant was among the numerous facilities that used asbestos for its fire resistant properties. People who worked at West Phoenix and other similar facilities were at risk of asbestos exposure, which can cause serious health issues. Breathing in asbestos fibers may cause mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis, and other asbestos-related illnesses.

Today, the federal government has placed strict regulations on the handling of asbestos, and employers must protect themselves with special equipment. However, these requirements were not always mandated. Before these government regulations were put into place, many people were exposed to asbestos on the job. These workers either inhaled or ingested the asbestos fibers. Some of them carried those fibers home on their clothing and exposed their family members through second-hand contact as well. Even today, we still see former employees of these facilities developing conditions as a result of their past exposure.