Power Engineering honors top power plant projects of 2015

Last night, seven projects from around the world were recognized during a gala event that kicked off Power Generation Week 2015 in Las Vegas. The annual Projects of the Year awards, hosted by Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World and Nuclear Power International magazines, are given to projects that are innovative, beneficial to the communities in which they are sited and technologically groundbreaking. This year, an overall Project of the Year was also recognized over all other finalists.

The four winners and three runners-up are:

Overall Project of the Year and Best Natural Gas-Fired Project:

Warren County Generating Station

Front Royal, Virginia

The PJM Interconnection LLC said Virginia-based utility 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 increase power output by about 130 MW on a 92-degree day.

Due to numerous underground voids, about 2,800 micropiles were drilled to support the major equipment. 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.

Runner Up: Panda Temple I & II, Temple, Texas

Best Nuclear Power Project:

Cook Nuclear Plant Bridge Crane Installation

Bridgman, Michigan

Installing a bridge crane while the Cook Nuclear Power Plant in Michigan was operating saved American Electric Power (AEP) millions of dollars and a great deal of time prior to an upcoming refueling outage.

Contractor 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 such a 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.

The innovative installation saved $18 million that would have been absorbed into the community rate base. It also cut the retrofit outage by a week, which helped to keep power costs and power bills down.

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 better defined. In 2012, transmission operator PJM recognized the value of energy storage in the secondary market for frequency regulation, and today the region has more than half of the installed energy storage capacity in the United States.

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. 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 that 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 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 the Invenergy’s renewable energy showcase at Grand Ridge. Invenergy has 200 MW of wind power, 20 MW of solar power, and 33 MW of energy storage at the site. 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.

Runner Up: Topaz Solar Farm, San Luis Obispo County, California

Best Coal-Fired Project:

Yeongheung Power Plant, Units 5 & 6

Yeongheung Island, South Korea

Following a six-month delay due to a bidding failure, units 5 and 6 of the Yeongheung Generating Station in South Korea were built to help reduce power and transmission costs associated with importing electricity.

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. 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. Korea South-East Power Co.’s 5,080-MW Yeongheung plant will cover 25 percent of South Korea’s power demand.

Runner Up: La Cygne Retrofit Project, La Cygne, Kansas

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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