WINDSOR, COLO., Nov. 6, 2002 — A fast-track project with a Colorado energy technology company will overhaul a 3.6 megawatt on-site generating plant for one of the East Coast’s largest natural gas suppliers.
Encorp Inc. of Windsor, Colo., will replace obsolete equipment with advanced software, monitoring systems and digital paralleling switchgear at Washington Gas Co., provider of natural gas to 930,000 customers in the nation’s capital and surrounding metropolitan region. The improvements will raise the natural gas supplier’s 30-year-old generating plant to state-of-the-art status.
The improvements, scheduled for completion by December, also will pave the way for Washington Gas to connect its revamped power plant to the regional power grid.
The $1.5 million installation is a joint project of Encorp and leading power engineering firm Stewart & Stevenson Services Inc. When completed, the project will ensure round-the-clock electrical power reliability and cost savings during times of peak energy use.
Power produced by the Washington Gas on-site system serves the needs of its 500,000-square-foot operations headquarters in Springfield, Va., including the company’s dispatch center, engineering center, warehouse facilities and offices.
When a substation is added to the system, excess power produced by the six 600-kilowatt generators that Washington Gas operates at its northern Virginia headquarters can be sold to off-site users through grid interconnection.
“They looked at this upgrade as an opportunity to export power out to the grid, which can result in some real economic advantages,” said Dan Barbersek, senior account manager for Encorp’s northeastern region. “When we walk away from this site, all they will need is a substation to connect to the grid.”
When they were installed 30 years ago, the generators were pioneering examples of how a company can generate its own power, a Washington Gas manager said.
“It’s a very unusual system,” said Steve Laurine, who manages Washington Gas’ Total Energy Plant. “It originally was developed as a marketing tool. The thought was with a system like this, you didn’t have to worry about rising electric rates and could have some immunity from blackouts and brownouts.”
The project requires gutting the existing components in the generator housings and replacing them with Encorp’s state-of-the-art software, monitoring systems and digital paralleling switchgear.
“This is like major heart surgery,” Laurine said. “They’ll be tearing out all the switchgear and replacing every bit of it.”
The Encorp upgrades also will support co-generation features of the Washington Gas plant that use steam created during the generation of electricity to power absorption chillers that feed HVAC units at the headquarters building.
Washington Gas’ average demand on the 3.6 MW generating system is just 1.8 MW, leaving half the generating capacity available to serve the grid. Laurine said that while the company has no firm plans for construction of a substation to take advantage of the grid connection, the prospect is part of the Washington Gas energy strategy.
Encorp will install its Virtual Maintenance Monitor(tm) (VMM) software to provide monitoring capability for both on-site operations and grid connectivity. VMM software provides site-specific generator metering, monitoring and control that offers detailed information, including energy demand metering, harmonics, alarm logging and engine and generator information.
“We think Encorp is a good company,” Laurine said. “I know that when this is completed, we’ll think it’s a great company.”
Downes Associates of Salisbury, Maryland, served as the project’s consulting engineering firm.
About Encorp Inc.
Encorp Inc., headquartered in Windsor, Colo., is a technology-driven company focused on addressing the digital economy’s principal power-related issues: energy management, quality and reliability. Encorp develops and markets software and hardware technology solutions for the communication, control and networking of distributed energy. For more information on Encorp, visit www.encorp.com or call 1-888-295-4141.
About Washington Gas
Washington Gas, headquartered in Washington, D.C., delivers natural gas to more than 930,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers throughout metropolitan Washington, D.C., and the surrounding region. Washington Gas is a subsidiary of WGL Holdings Inc. (NYSE: WGL). For more information about Washington Gas, visit www.washgas.com.