AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Xcel Energy began the overhaul process for one of its three units at Nichols Generating Station.

The unit being overhauled was built in 1968 and is being taken apart and upgraded with new equipment to fix any problems that may be occurring.

“This will give us an opportunity to extend the life of this unit because it’s 54 years old, it really is at its or near the end of its lifespan but it’s a great investment for us,” said Wes Reeves, Xcel Energy spokesperson. “We’d rather overhaul it, rather than going out and having to replace that power.”

The overhaul process will take place throughout the fall months as the demand for energy goes down.

During the summer, energy demand for residents throughout the area and the cost of operation at the power plants also increased. All three units at Nichols Generating Station must be used during the summer.

“Here’s what we can do to save money, we need to come forward and say we’re going to do XY and Z to bring our costs down and one of those is to make the existing power plants we got better,” said Reeves. “We might have to spend a little bit of money to save money.”

Natural gas is expensive, but Xcel is able to use wind energy which comes with benefits and shortcomings.

“These gas fleets are very important these natural gas burning plants, because they enable us to bring a lot of wind energy onto the system,” said Reeves. “Because wind is not a source, you can’t turn it on and off. So you need something that you can bring up and down with the wind. Nichols and these other gas plants play that role.”

Xcel hopes to have most of the overhaul completed towards the end of the year or the beginning of 2023.