By Sharryn Dotson, Associate Editor, Power Engineering; Russell Ray, Chief Editor, Power Engineering and Jennifer Runyon, Chief Editor, Renewable Energy World
Each year, power projects from around the world are recognized by the editors of Power Engineering and Renewable Energy World magazines. The winners of the 2015 Projects of the Year Awards were announced Dec. 7 at the KMA Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, during POWER-GEN International 2015.
Power projects in four categories were recognized: Best Natural Gas-Fired, Best Coal-Fired, Best Nuclear and Best Renewable projects. In addition, the editors named one project the 2015 Best Overall Project of the Year.
What follows is a description of the winning projects:
Overall Project of the Year and Best Natural Gas-Fired Project: Warren County Generating Station, Front Royal, Virginia
The PJM Interconnection LLC said Dominion needs 5,600 MW of generation in its service area by 2019. The 1,346-MW Warren County Power Station in Virginia was engineered and built by Warren County Energy Partners, a joint venture of Zachry and Burns and McDonnell, to help close that gap. The plant uses a 3-on-1 configuration with Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas’ 501GAC combustion turbines, a 573-MW steam turbine and Alstom heat recovery steam generators. The plant uses a thermal energy storage system and chillers from DN Tanks and Turbine Air Systems to reduce water use, store energy and reduce its parasitic power load during peak demand. The system helps to increase power output by approximately 130 MW on a 92-degree day.
“The air-cooled condenser reduces the water consumption for the facility, and the chilled water system that provides additional output during high temperature days results in additional output during those high temperature days,” said Bob McKinley, vice president of Construction with Dominion Virginia Power.
Approximately 2,800 micropiles were drilled to support the major equipment due to numerous underground voids. Three offsite laydown yards were constructed to store materials due to space constraints at the site. The city set stringent limits on the supply of water to the site and the wastewater discharge to the city, which required logistical planning for key commissioning events.
Zachry and its employees raised more than $900,000 for the United Way of Front Royal/Warren County, which was just one of the benefits to the community where it is sited.
“For the local community, we provided more than 1,000 construction jobs and we provide 50 full-time jobs at the facility,” McKinley said. “For our customers, the efficiency of the facility will pay dividends to them for many, many years.”
Best Nuclear Power Project: Cook Nuclear Plant Bridge Crane Installation, Bridgman, Michigan
Installing a bridge crane while the dual-unit, 2,155-MW Cook nuclear power plant in Michigan was operating saved plant owner and operator American Electric Power (AEP) millions of dollars and time before the start of a planned refueling outage in 2016.
Day & Zimmermann used multiple telescoping gantry systems and a hydraulic turntable to safely lift and rotate components for a 250-ton bridge crane. Two 88-foot girders were lifted 60 feet above the turbine floor and placed between the two operating units.
Workers configured the gantry system as an engineered temporary lift assembly that had never been used in this manner during power operation. The design was less invasive to the plant structure. Thanks to the project, the industry now has a proven method for the practical application of a telescoping gantry system and a turntable for component rotation.
“It was the first high-risk lift since the industry had some issues at ANO (Arkansas Nuclear One) with the stator lift, so we did the testing outside in the elements to ensure that when we brought it inside and did that high-risk lift in between two operating units, we could do it successfully,” said Mark Lloyd, vice president of Engineering with American Electric Power.
The innovative process saved $18 million that would have been absorbed into the community rate base. It also cut the refueling outage by a week, which also helps to keep power costs–and power bills–down.
“It was over five million pounds included in this lift, and it took almost 300 lifts to get all the materials up, and almost a third of them were high-risk lifts,” said David Hughes, vice president of Projects with Day & Zimmermann. “There were no human performance and no safety issues for the whole project.”
Best Renewable Energy Project: Grand Ridge Energy Center, La Salle County, Illinois
As more and more intermittent renewables come online in the developed world, the business case for energy storage becomes more and more defined. In 2012, transmission operator PJM recognized the value of energy storage in the secondary market for frequency regulation. Today, the region has more than half of the energy storage installed capacity in the U.S.
The Grand Ridge Energy Storage Center is a 31.5-MW lithium-ion battery system co-located at Invenergy’s Grand Ridge wind and solar farms in Illinois. The project is the second largest lithium-ion battery storage system in the world. The project acts as both a generator and a load to provide grid operator PJM with the megawatts or “negawatts” it needs to balance supply and demand.
The Grand Ridge Energy Center represents a new class of grid assets to address the challenges of the 21st century grid, which is transforming at a rapid pace. Distributed generation, higher levels of renewables and fewer industrial loads mean that load is “peakier” than in the past. To address these challenges, grid operators need fast responding resources that can inject or withdraw power from the grid at a moment’s notice. The Grand Ridge Energy Storage Center provides the PJM grid operator the ability to inject or withdraw power from the grid in less than one second, thus offsetting the need for PJM to procure up to 3 MW of traditional regulating resources. This results in a more efficient and reliable grid.
The project is part of Invenergy’s renewable energy showcase at Grand Ridge. At the site, Invenergy has 200 MW of wind, 20 MW of solar and 33 MW of storage. Invenergy regularly hosts tours of the facility for schools, government officials, policy makers and industry stakeholders. Invenergy employs 18 workers at the Grand Ridge Facility, of which two are dedicated to the energy storage facility. The project adds $35,000 annually to the local tax base. Henkels & McCoy assisted with the project as well.
Kris Zadlo, senior vice president of Invenergy, said the fact that this was the first energy storage project given a Best Renewable Project award signifies how much the industry is changing.
“It’s transformational because I think many people don’t realize that energy storage is affordable today, and it could provide a beneficial service to the grid,” Zadlo said. “Every hour of the day, we’re providing reliability services to the grid.”
Best Coal-fired Project: Yeongheung units 5 and 6, Yeongheung Island, South Korea
Following a six-month delay due to a bidding failure, units 5 and 6 of the 5,080-MW Yeongheung Generating Station in South Korea was built to help reduce power and $10 million in transmission costs annually.
A modulation process helped reduce construction time, but Hyundai Engineering Co. was tasked with using bituminous coal in the plant’s design to quell growing opposition to the project as climate change discussions ramped up. Workers also applied lessons learned from construction of the previous units to solve any problems that arose with units 5 and 6.
“Because of increasingly strict emissions standards, we could not receive additional environmental allowances toward units 5 and 6, so we had to put the units under the allowances we had for the first four units,” said General Manager Eun-seo Park with Korea South-East Power Co. (KOSEP).
The plant is also the site of a 2-MW solar photovoltaic power plant, a 12.6-MW small hydro power plant and a 46-MW wind power plant. KOSEP’s Yeongheung plant will cover 25 percent of South Korea’s power demand.
The power plant also won an Advanced Energy For Life Clean Coal Award from Peabody Energy for having the lowest NOx emissions in the world.
“Receiving the awards means that KOSEP is now an internationally-recognized leading company for the construction and operation of power plants,” Park said. “In addition, it motivates us to aim and perform for an even higher level of achievement.”
2015 Projects of the Year Runners-Up
By Sharryn Dotson, Associate Editor
The gas, renewable and coal projects were picked out of hundreds of nominations from around the world. What follows are the project descriptions for the runners up in this year’s Projects of the Year Awards.
Best Gas Project Runner Up: Panda Temple I & II, Temple, Texas
The 1,516-MW Panda Temple I & II combined-cycle power plant in Texas was completed in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The combustion turbines from Siemens are designed to begin producing electricity in as little as 10 minutes, reach 60 percent load in 20 minutes, and full power in 30 minutes. The plants are designed with Shaping Power, where mass flow through the engine is increased, resulting in higher power output during high temperatures, which makes the plant ideal for Texas summers. The plant is also a zero-discharge facility that uses reclaimed water from local communities and then treats it for plant cooling.
Temple I was completed 18 days ahead of schedule and Temple II was completed three months ahead of schedule due to the consortium of Siemens and Bechtel managing the EPC and startup of both projects, and coordinating early equipment deliveries of Siemens’ power island equipment.
Best Renewable Runner Up: Topaz Solar Farm, San Luis Obispo County, California
First Solar completed construction of the 550-MW Topaz Solar Farm in California in October 2014. The project uses nearly 9 million modules that cover 10 square miles and it was financed without a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy. Topaz incorporates advanced capabilities to support grid stability and reliability. First Solar, the plant controller, can strike a balance of regulating real and reactive power output, resulting in electricity generation that behaves as a single-large generator. The project was sold to BHE Renewables in 2012.
First Solar implemented ways to refine its installation process that resulted in reduced labor hours and construction being completed ahead of time.
Best Coal Project Runner Up: La Cygne Retrofit Project, La Cygne, Kansas
The La Cygne Power Plant is the second largest in Kansas City Power & Light’s fleet. The 810-MW Unit 1 has a supercritical cyclone boiler, while the 715-MW Unit 2 has a subcritical opposed wall boiler. Emissions upgrades were required pursuant to the EPA’s Regional Haze Rule and a regional haze agreement between KCP&L and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. The entire project was completed under the $1.23 billion budget and ahead of schedule.
Both units updated their digital control systems, wet FGD systems, sorbent lime injection systems, mercury removal systems and fabric filters. Unit 2 also installed low-NOx burners and a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system. Unit 1 already has an SCR system.
Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas and Kiewit Corp. installed the equipment that helped to reduce NOx emissions by more than 50 percent in Unit 2 and SO2 emissions by more than 70 percent for the entire plant. Particulate matter and mercury emissions were reduced below emission targets. The companies also had to deal with site constraints that required detailed laydown and prefabrication planning. Existing ductwork was repurposed and upgraded to meet specifications of the new equipment.