Partnership Solves Power Shortage
By Josh Troutman,
As its summer peak load approached, Northeast Utilities (NU) was dealt a severe blow when three of its four Connecticut nuclear generating stations were shut down, resulting in the sudden loss of about 2,500 MW of installed capacity throughout the state. The capacity problem was attacked by various divisions of NU`s subsidiary, the Connecticut Light & Power Co. (CL&P). In late March, NU engineers began investigating options with the focus on transportable generating equipment.
After alternatives were examined, manufacturers were requested to bid on, provide and install turnkey generating facilities in Connecticut with an on-line deadline of July 1, 1996. On May 1, NU gave General Electric Power Services Division (GE) verbal authorization to proceed immediately with the installation of four LM6000 combustion turbine units at CL&P`s Devon generation station in Milford, Conn. Site assets included a high-pressure gas line, available fuel storage tanks and retired NOx credits.
Work began on the site and continued on a 24-hour-per-day basis, seven days a week. Local public officials and regulatory agencies were cooperative and instrumental as work progressed in an emergency mode. GE and Stewart and Stevenson (S&S) worked on the engines, enclosures, sound walls, control rooms, foundations and auxiliaries. NU focused on engineering and constructing the high-pressure gas line, the electrical transmission system interconnections, auxiliary cooling, combustion air chilling and the demineralized water supply system. While the four units were installed at Devon, one other similar unit was leased short-term from S&S for CL&P`s South Meadow Station in Hartford, Conn.
On June 23, the first unit at Devon was phased in, and by June 28 all four were connected to the grid. All four units were operating together at full load at 7 a.m., July 1, as was the South Meadow unit–thus successfully completing the challenge. In addition, the four units at Devon and the one at South Meadow were equipped with inlet cooling coils and rented portable chiller compressor units, which increased output from 32 to 40 MW on each unit when ambient temperatures approached 90 F.