POWER [January, 1 2011]

Cover Stories

Coal Plants Challenged as Gas Plants Surge

European carbon trading is gradually pushing down coal-fired capacity factors, and operating costs are rising. The U.S. may not have a carbon market, but increasing regulatory requirements are having the same effect on coal-fired generation capacity factors and operating costs. In the meantime, gas-fired assets are enjoying increased usage and lower unit costs.


EPRI Identifies Four Breakthrough Technologies for 2011

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has identified four breakthrough technologies and funded them through its Strategic Research and Development Portfolio. EPRI expects to accelerate development of these innovations because they are likely to have significant effects on how electricity is generated and delivered.


GE Leverages Leading-Edge Technology and a Balanced Product Portfolio in 2011

Paul Browning, vice president, thermal products for GE Power & Water, sees the greatest short-term business opportunities beyond the U.S., in “high-speed” countries.


Mitsubishi Looks to High-Efficiency Combustion and Wind Turbines in 2011

Bill Newsom—vice president, sales & marketing, Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas Inc.—talks about taking the long view with the company’s U.S. investments.


Siemens Energy Introduces Efficient and Flexible Products in 2011

Dr. Michael Weinhold, chief technology officer of Siemens Energy, discusses the company’s 2011 business plans and the role of the smart grid in the future’s energy infrastructure.


Smart Grid 2011: More than Meters

The concept of a smart grid may have been born in the U.S.A., but it's hitting an adolescent growth spurt just about everywhere else first. Meanwhile, in the U.S., both the regulators and companies that see great potential in a smarter grid are realizing that making substantial smart grid progress will first require making both people and policies smarter. There’s one exception, one piece of the smart grid, that could face fewer obstacles to adoption, and that’s because it offers more obvious and visible benefits to its users: electric vehicles (EVs).

Strong Technology Portfolio Positions Alstom for a Strong 2011

Timothy Curran, head of power for Alstom Power, USA, recently shared his company’s view of 2011 and beyond with POWER’s editor-in-chief.


The U.S. Power Industry 2011: The Sequel

If Hollywood were scripting the power industry story for 2011, it would be a sequel to 2010—more of the same, but just not quite as good. Natural gas gets top billing and the accolades, wind power drops to a supporting role, and new nuclear answers the casting call but has yet to get a speaking part. Coal is like Mel Gibson—a talented Oscar winner unlikely to get another leading role. In this, our fifth annual industry forecast report, the story may be familiar, but the price of admission is going way up.


Which Side of the Meter Are You On?

Utilities have achieved success by supplying electricity from central station plants (the supply side) to a grid that carries electricity to customers (the demand side). One way to improve the efficiency of this supply chain is by adopting smart grid technology. The weak link in that chain is convincing customers to use, and regulators to invest in, the smart grid.


Features

Oxy-Combustion: A Promising Technology for Coal-Fired Plants

For more than a decade Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group Inc. and Air Liquide have been developing oxyfuel technology with the goal of using it to concentrate CO2 from pulverized coal-fired power plants and achieve up to 90% CO2 capture and storage. This technology was recently selected for demonstration as part of FutureGen 2.0.


Departments

Commentary

Anticipating the New Utility MACT Rules

It’s been almost three years since the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued its decision vacating the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Revision Rule and the Clean Air Mercury Rule. Since then, the utility industry has been in a holding pattern with respect to the control of hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions.

New Products

Independent and Highly Dynamic Linear Axis

Voith Turbo H + L Hydraulic’s hydraulic Closed Loop Differential Pump (CLDP) linear axis can be used for all direct linear movements—especially for applications that rely on dynamics, reproducibility, overload protection, and…

Professional Grade Emergency Spill Kits

The new Oil Eater all-in-one professional grade emergency spill kits are designed to contain and clean up hazardous spills as required by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and…

Progressing Cavity Pump with Unique Gear Joint

Moyno Inc. launched its Moyno 2000 Progressing Cavity Pump with a unique gear joint that allows the versatile pump to handle a wide range of applications, from shear-sensitive chemicals to…

Legal & Regulatory

Solving the Renewable Integration Puzzle

In November, California voters overwhelmingly rejected an initiative that would have put the brakes on AB 32, the state’s ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction law. Given the role that California has played in climate change policy, that such a vote took place only four years into the law’s implementation process and 10 years before the emissions reduction targets were to be met was a reality check on climate change policy for those on both sides of the issue.

Focus on O&M

Exelon Enjoys Benefits of Online Transformer Monitoring

In all of these cases, frequent oil analysis monitoring and preestablished action plans were able to allow for transformer replacement before the occurrence of a catastrophic failure. Exelon’s experience, as well as that of other power utilities across the grid, has spawned a report by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) of Atlanta, Georgia, that recommends that performance monitoring and trending be applied to all large transformers in order to establish a baseline for transformer maintenance strategies.

Selecting a Specialty Accumulator

Sudden bumps and shocks are great fun when you are off-roading or are riding on a rollercoaster. But when you are operating a piece of equipment, you want it to be running as smoothly as a Cadillac rolling down the interstate. Sudden changes in pressure produce vibration, cavitation, and water hammer and generally lower the lifespan and reliability of fluid systems.

Global Monitor

Construction of Tibetan Dam Sets Off Cross-Border Tensions

China in mid-November embarked upon building the first massive hydropower project in Tibet, a 6 x 85-MW plant straddling the middle reaches of the mighty Yarlung Tsangpo River (Figure 2). According to the Hunan Daily, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, Sinohydro began damming the river in Shannan Prefecture, Tibet, on Nov. 8, kicking off the 7.9 billion yuan ($1.2 billion) “run of the river” project that is estimated to generate electricity for the surrounding region by 2014.

German Researchers Develop Cost-Efficient Small Hydro Plant

Researchers at Germany's Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) claim to have developed a small-scale hydroelectric power plant that is capable of operating profitably even at modest dam heights while minimizing impact on waterways.

IEA: Global Power Demand to Surge 2.2% Annually Through 2035

Though electricity generation has entered a key period of transition—as investment shifts to low-carbon technologies—world electricity demand is set to grow faster than any other “final form of energy,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) says in its latest annual World Energy Outlook.

MHI Prepares to Test J-Series in Japan

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has begun converting a combined-cycle plant in Japan to prepare for verification testing of its long-anticipated J-Series gas turbine in February 2011—a system that the company claims has the most power generation capacity and highest thermal efficiency in the 1,600C turbine inlet temperature class (Figure 3). The work being carried out at the Takasago Machinery Works facility in Hyogo Prefecture (where the company’s G-Series gas turbines were tested) includes installation of the J-Series turbine, and it marks another major milestone in the technology’s development.

POWER Digest (Jan. 2011)

TANE and Shaw to Provide EPC Services for South Texas Expansion. Nuclear Innovation North America LLC (NINA), the nuclear development company jointly owned by NRG Energy and Toshiba Corp., on…

TransCanada Opens 683-MW Halton Hills Combined-Cycle Plant

TransCanada Corp. on Oct. 28 officially opened its C$700 million Halton Hills Generating Station. The 683-MW 2 x 1 combined-cycle plant on a greenfield site in Ontario (Figure 5) will operate under a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA). Construction of the peaker plant started in December 2007 and was completed on time and on budget, TransCanada said.

Speaking of Power

My Top 10 Predictions for 2011

It’s time to pull my crystal ball out of storage, polish it up, and give you another round of U.S. industry predictions for 2011. I graded last year’s predictions B+ (for a complete rundown of how I graded each prediction, see page 32), but I’m convinced I’ll do better in 2011.

GBR Reports