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Hines Energy Complex: combustion turbines, cooling ponds and gators, oh my!

By lmorris

Technical tour attendees visited Progress Energy’s 1912-MW Hines Energy Complex located seven miles outside of Bartow, Fla. on Dec. 13. The complex has four combined cycle units fueled by gas and oil. The first unit began commercial operation in 1999 and subsequent units began operation in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

The construction of the complex was a 15-year project beginning in 1992 that took place on a reclaimed phosphate mining area. Aside from the construction of the four units, the size of the cooling ponds was increased from 722 acres to 1196 acres, and cooling towers were built.

The first power block has two Westinghouse 501FC combustion turbines, a Westinghouse BB245/72R steam turbine and two Foster-Wheeler heat recovery steam generators. The second power block has two Siemens 501FD combustion turbines, a Siemens HE steam turbine and two NEM heat recovery steam generators. The third power block has two Siemens 501FD combustion turbines, a Siemens HE steam turbine and two Nooter/Erikson heat recovery steam generators. The fourth power block is comprised of two GE 7FA combustion turbines, a GE D11 reheat steam turbine and two Nooter/Erikson heat recovery steam generators. Units 1-4 also feature dry low NOx controls with Selective Catalytic Reduction.

Marty Drango, plant manager, noted that output from all of the turbines is greater during the winter months (by less than 100 MW) because combustion turbines depend on air density. Density is greater during winter months, especially in the humid Florida climate.

The cooling ponds onsite have required a good deal of maintenance, and plant operators estimate that 475,000 pounds of tilapia have been removed from the ponds. Fish are not the only creatures that have made appearances at the Hines Energy Complex. Progress Energy Florida rebuilt 1,500 acres of wildlife habitat on the formerly mined property adjacent to the Hines Energy Complex. In the process of rebuilding the habitat, Hines staff members have seen the return of alligators, bobcats, deer, hogs, eagles, ospreys, spoonbills and turkeys, among other animals. Hines Energy Complex management estimates as many as 2,000 alligators dwell in the cooling ponds.

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