PacifiCorp, MidAmerican power plants top Navigant’s excellence awards

PacifiCorp nearly swept Navigant’s annual awards for power plant operational excellence announced Monday.

The Portland, Oregon-based utility’s power stations took top honors for both High Utilization and Combined-Cycle in the Generation Knowledge Service Plant Operational Excellence Awards by global research firm Navigant. The GKS awards highlight power plants which demonstrate best in cost, operational management, improved performance and reliability.

A Wyoming coal-fired power station, which recently lost one of its units to retirement, topped Navigant’s annual operational excellence awards in the High Utilization category. The Naughton Power Station (pictured) in Kemmerer, Wyoming, was awarded top performer status, while Utah’s Hunter Power Station, also owned by PacifiCorp, was runner-up.

Naughton had operated three coal-fired units totaling about 700 MW for decades, but Unit 3 was shut down this year due to the anticipated cost of dealing with environment regulations and market forces. The two remaining units, both of which began work in the 1960s, together produce more than 400 MW of generation capacity, according to reports.

The High Utilization award was for plants which average more than 70 percent in the utilization index. In the Low Utilization for under 70 percent, MidAmerican Energy’s George Neal Station in Iowa was rated as the top performer, while Duke Energy’s Belews Creek Steam Station in North Carolina was runner-up.

The coal-fired Neal Station has been operating since the late 1970s. MidAmerican has upgraded the site to stay in operation despite pressure to retire Neal.

PacifiCorp’s Current Creek Power Station combined cycle gas turbine plant in Mona, Utah was named top performer for that category. Alabama Power’s Plant Barry in Mobile County was named runner-up.

The GKS Plant Operational Excellence Awards are based on a review of cost and performance data over the most recent five-year period (2014-2018). Winners were selected after a detailed analysis of cost and performance data from Navigant’s industry-leading GKS database, which contains data on more than 230,000 MW of coal-fired generation and nearly 87,000 MW of combined cycle generation.

The analysis of cost and performance includes a weighted comparison of non-fuel operation and maintenance costs and availability and reliability measures during the evaluation period. Winners must also finish in the top half for safety performance.

(Rod Walton is content director for Power Engineering and POWERGEN International. He can be reached at 918-831-9177 and

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The Future of Coal-fired Generation and Gas-fired Turbines and Plants are two of the many content tracks at POWERGEN International happening Nov. 19-21 in New Orleans. POWERGEN will feature about 30 utility-level speakers, and power generator discounts are available.

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