Coal, Energy Storage, Gas, Renewables

2017 Projects of the Year

Issue 1 and Volume 122.

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 2017 Projects of the Year Awards were announced Dec. 5 at the Las Vegas Convention Center during POWER-GEN International 2017.

Power projects in five categories were recognized: Best Natural Gas-Fired, Best Coal-Fired, Best Energy Storage, Best Renewable, and Best CHP projects. In addition, the editors named two projects the 2017 Best Overall Power Project of the Year.

What follows is a description of the winning projects:

Best Coal-Fired Project & Best Overall Project:

NRG Energy & JX Nippon
– The Petra Nova Carbon Capture Retrofit

The Petra Nova carbon capture project near Houston.

The Petra Nova carbon capture project near Houston.

The Petra Nova carbon capture project near Houston has been described as an evolutionary project, one that could transform the face of coal-fired generation.

The carbon capture technology used in this retrofit of the W.A. parish power plant southwest of Houston can be applied to existing coal-fired plants. The project, developed by NRG Energy and JP Nippon, serves as an example of how CCS can play a starring role in the battle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The CCS system captures 90 percent of the CO2 emissions from a 240-MW slipstream of flue gas from unit 8. The system captures 1.6 million tons of CO2 each year. The process uses a proprietary high-performance solvent for CO2 absorption and desorption that was jointly developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the Kansai Electric Power Co.

The captured CO2 is then piped 81 miles and injected into marginal oil wells to boost oil production, a process known as enhanced oil recovery. Oil producers estimate 60 million barrels of oil could be recovered from those wells using this method of production. In addition, the oil revenues would be used to pay for the operation of the carbon capture system.

The project uses pulverized coal and captures the CO2 after combustion. The retrofit was built in just two years and was completed on time and on budget. The Petra Nova facility is one of only two operating power plants in world equipped with CCS technology. It is the only plant of its kind in the U.S.


China Resources Power Holdings
– Hezhou Power Plant


Wisconsin Power & Light
– Edgewater Unit 5 AQCS Project

Best Gas-Fired Project:

– The Wolf Hollow Combined Cycle Plant

Exelon’s 1,000-MW Wolf Hollow gas-fired combined cycle plant.

Southern California Edison’s hybrid enhanced gas turbine system.

Built in Granbury, Texas, Exelon’s 1,000-MW Wolf Hollow gas-fired combined cycle plant began producing power in December 2016. At the heart of this highly efficient plant is a 7ha.02 gas turbine from General Electric. The turbine is cooled with air instead of water, and according to GE, provides the most output, highest efficiency and best operational flexibility for 60 hertz applications.

The turbine is designed to start fast, ramp up quickly and turndown efficiently. That’s important in a state like Texas, home to large amounts of intermittent wind power.

The combustion system allows the gas turbine to run at 25 percent load without exceeding emission limits. This is a valuable feature because it means the plant can remain online during times of high output from wind farms and solar arrays. In addition, the turbine can withstand high temperatures exceeding 2,600 degrees Fahrenheit, increasing fuel efficiency and lowering maintenance costs.

Wolf Hollow also features some of the latest digital technologies. Its digital capabilities mean it can use real-time data to deliver better plant outcomes. By monitoring and analyzing data from more than 10,000 sensor inputs, the information enables the operator to optimize plant performance on many levels.

Wolf Hollow stands out for several reasons. In addition to producing enough electricity for 750,000 Texas homes, it does so using a tenth of the water consumed by a conventional combined cycle plant, GE said.


Middle Delta Electricity Production Co.
– Burullus Power Plant


Grand River Dam Authority
– Grand River Energy Center Combined Cycle Unit 3

Best CHP Project:

NRG Energy
– “Green” Headquarters

NRG Energy’s new green headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey.

NRG Energy’s new green headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey.

NRG Energy’s new headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey, uses a wide range of clean energy innovations dedicated to sustainability and reliability. In addition to using solar panels, wind turbines and battery storage, NRG’s 130,000-square-foot headquarters gets most of its power from a combined heat and power plant.

The 250-kilowatt CHP system also reuses the thermal energy to meet the building’s heating and cooling needs. A 45-ton absorption chiller also converts residual heat from the CHP plant to cool the company’s trade floor and data center.

The Building is nearly independent of the grid. In addition to the CHP system, the project also features two backup generators and a 500-kW battery storage system. The storage system supports the facility’s demand response measures and covers any shortfalls in solar output.

The onsite power plant was built to withstand events like Superstorm Sandy. As a result of NRG’s innovative thinking and strategic solutions, the project illustrates the level of sustainability and reliability that can be achieved with today’s generation technologies.


China Resources Power Holdings
– Cangzhou Heat and Power Cogeneration Plant

Best Energy Storage Project & Best Overall Project:

Southern California Edison
– Battery-Gas Turbine Hybrid System

Southern California Edison’s hybrid enhanced gas turbine system.

Southern California Edison’s hybrid enhanced gas turbine system.

“Transformative” and “revolutionary” best describe the world’s first hybrid enhanced gas turbine (EGT) projects that added battery energy storage at two Southern California Edison natural gas peaker plants. The projects consist of a 10 MW/4.3 MWh lithium-ion battery plus a Hybrid Control System.

Once online and synchronized, the turbine only needs two to three minutes to ramp up to full load and because it has instantaneous response capability, each Hybrid EGT can participate in California ISO’s spinning reserves markets 24-7, with no fuel consumption or emissions while the turbine is offline.

Each Hybrid EGT facilitates the use of efficient and cleaner resources to meet peak energy needs, including solar, wind, hydro, and combined-cycle plants. Working in harmony, each battery-and-turbine Hybrid EGT system supports green energy variability by filling in the gaps with their immediate response capability.

Speaking about the project, Steve Berberich, President and CEO of the California ISO stated: “The SCE-GE project is a perfect example that distributed energy resources can be used in innovative ways.”


Imperial Irrigation District
– Battery Energy Storage System


GENSA Energy
– Gestor Colombia Microgrid

Best Renewable Project:

China Resources Power
– Ningxia Haiyuan Xihua Mountain Wind Farm

The 300-MW Ningxia Haiyuan Xihua Mountain Wind Farm

The 300-MW Ningxia Haiyuan Xihua Mountain Wind Farm

Built in what the United Nations Food Development Agency dubbed as one of the most inhabitable places for humans, the 300-MW Ningxia Haiyuan Xihua Mountain Wind Farm combines the development of renewable energy with poverty alleviation and environmental improvement.

The $313.4 million clean energy project can provide 755 million kilowatt-hours of power annually, which avoids the use of 326,000 tons of coal. The wind farm spans six towns and 41 villages and brought jobs and economic development to the remote region located some 8,000 feet above sea level. Project developer China Resources Power contributed 3 million dollars to plant trees in Haiyuan and created a five-year plan for the region to develop its grass and cattle livestock industry for which China Resources Group donated $57.5 million.

Despite construction taking place during the winter, with temperatures ranging from -4 to -22 below zero, the project was completed in record time. China Resources said it set a new record for the construction and testing of wind turbines in the power industry in China.


Pacific Gas & Electric
– Blue Lake Rancheria Microgrid


DC Department of General Services
– Rooftop Solar Arrays