Did you hear that boom? Explosion at Lawrence power plant was from turbine malfunction

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The sound of an explosion rattled homes all over Lawrence just before 10 p.m. Wednesday, but it seems its bark was worse than its bite. 

It came from the Lawrence Energy Center at 1250 North 1800 Road. 

There was a malfunction on one of the turbines there, said Gina Penzig, a spokesperson for Evergy. 

“It resulted in a small fire that was quickly controlled and no one was injured,” Penzig said. “The turbine is shut down and the rest of the plant is safely operating.”

She said there were no power outages in connection with the malfunction. 

The Lawrence Energy Center “has a capacity of 515 megawatts and generates enough energy to power 222,973 homes for one year,” according to a presentation in a Sustainability Advisory Board agenda packet from November 2018. It’s the third largest coal-powered plant in Kansas, the presentation states.

The plant has drawn criticism from some groups such as CleanAirNow, a grassroots environmental organization that is pushing to end air pollution and has called for the plant to be shut down.

August Rudisell / Lawrence Times The Lawrence Energy Center is pictured on Thursday, April 1, 2021.

Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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