POWER [May, 1 2012]

Cover Stories

Vogtle Gets Green Light

In February 2012, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved two combined construction and operating licenses for Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 in Georgia. They were the first licenses ever approved for a U.S. nuclear plant using the one-step licensing process and the first allowing construction in more than three decades. Now the real work begins.


Features

Europe: More Coal, Then Less

Europe’s continuing drive toward sustainable energy does not rule out a new generation of coal power plants to replace those scheduled to close by 2015.


Getting Bulk Storage Projects Built

Unpredictable periods of operation are one of the disadvantages of wind and solar technologies. If there were an economic means of storing the energy from the time of production to the time of demand, the value of renewable energy sources would greatly increase. Here are some ideas for how to bridge that gap.


Managing the Catalysts of a Combustion Turbine Fleet

Natural gas–fired fleets comprising diverse turbine unit types are operating their units more these days because of the historic low price of natural gas. With increased operating hours, fleet owners are challenged to find the best ways to manage their SCR catalyst systems.


Ten Smart Grid Trends to Watch in 2012 and Beyond

The year 2012 represents a turning point for the smart grid. Many foundational elements have been tested; several have been successfully deployed. Now the serious work of integration and value-generation begins, even though the challenges remain substantial.


Think Water When Designing CSP Plants

The operation of solar thermal power plants differs substantially from that of fossil-fired plants, as the sun determines the generation rather than market demand. However, design of the power island to minimize water usage is very similar to that of a fossil plant. This renewable technology requires renewed thinking of its water systems’ design.


Too Dumb to Meter: Follies, Fiascoes, Dead Ends, and Duds on the U.S. Road to Atomic Energy

The commercial development of nuclear power began immediately after the Second World War ended and the Manhattan Project secrets were released to the public. As the headline—also the title of a new book—implies, the development path was not always straight or even clearly marked. In this POWER exclusive, the first chapter of Too Dumb to Meter begins a serial presentation of the book.


Upgraded Controls Position McIntosh Plant for Efficient Operations

Lakeland Electric’s C.D. McIntosh, Jr. Power Plant is a microcosm of the entire power generation industry. On a single site is a once-baseload coal-fired plant that is now operating fewer hours plus a peaking gas-fired combined cycle plant that has swung to baseload operation. A complete controls upgrade of the gas-fired plant last year prepared the plant for its expanded role in producing electricity for this 108-year-old public power provider.


Departments

Commentary

Ensuring the Best Use of Federal Energy Subsidies

The U.S. uses a combination of direct expenditures, tax breaks, loan guarantees, and research funding to promote various energy goals. We could rely solely on the free market and avoid using federal subsidies, but we do not do that now and appear unlikely to do so in the future.

New Products

Easy-Use Spade Drill Bit

Spade drill bits are routinely used by electricians who do wiring and cabling, especially for drilling holes in wood for conduit runs. But traditional spade bits sometimes vibrate badly and…

Explosion-Proof Halogen Light

Magnalight.com announced the addition of the EPL-QP-1X150-100—a quad-pod mounted light tower designed to provide operators in hazardous locations with a powerful lighting solution—to its extensive line of explosion-proof lighting equipment.…

New Burner Management System  

Siemens Industry Inc. introduced two new SIMATIC Burner Management Systems (BMS) to give end users greater flexibility to cost-effectively comply with revised 2011 burner standards. Designed with TUV-certified hardware and…

Legal & Regulatory

States Promote Clean Energy Programs

While the proposed federal renewable portfolio standards (RPS) continue to be caught in Washington gridlock, a number of states are aggressively enacting programs that promote renewable energy, such as wind and solar power.

Focus on O&M

Partnership Develops Innovative CCP Project

In 2009, the North Carolina Asheville Regional Airport Authority (Airport), with partners Progress Energy Carolinas Inc. and Charah Inc., began development of the Westside Development Fill Project (Westside Project), a long-term infrastructure strategy located in the southwest quadrant of the Airport’s property. The project included phased construction of a developable pad for general aviation and commercial use, a new taxiway running parallel to the existing runway, and a major expansion of the existing runway.

Predictive Maintenance That Works

This is the fifth in a series of predictive maintenance (PdM) articles that began in the April 2011 “Focus on O&M” in which the essentials of PdM were introduced. In the May and June 2011 issues, we explored specific PdM techniques, such as motor-current signature analysis and oil analysis. In the November 2011 issue, we introduced the value of thermographic analysis and its routine use. This installment focuses on ultrasonic and vibration analysis.

What Are the Safety Rules for Anyway?

Following safety rules is the foundation to eliminating injuries. Commonly, a safety presenter will say that safety rules are “written in blood.” At one time, such dramatic statements were a way to get attention and illustrated the seriousness of following safety rules. Today, more highly educated workers demand less drama and more facts.

Global Monitor

As Small Gas Turbine Segment Grows, Alstom Launches E-Class Upgrade

Close on the heels of its recent upgrades of the GT26 and GT24 gas turbines for 50-Hertz and 60-Hertz power markets, Alstom in March launched its next-generation GT13E2 gas turbine, a medium-sized gas turbine of the 200-MW class.

India Revs Up Capacity with Massive Coal Plants

India, a country that plans to fuel its current level of gross domestic product growth of between 8% and 9% with massive, mostly coal-fired power capacity additions over the next decade, in March commissioned an 800-MW supercritical unit at the first of India’s government-envisioned ultra-mega power plants (UMPP).

POWER Digest (May 2012)

Three South Korean Firms Opt for MHI’s J-Series Turbines. Japanese firms Marubeni Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) on March 22 said they had been jointly awarded orders for three…

Powered by Felt

It promises to be the most widely and easily distributed power generation technology to date: heat, captured in fabric. Work at Wake Forest University in North Carolina has led to the creation of a thermoelectric fabric called Power Felt that can turn theoretically any form of heat (body heat, waste heat from a car, or heat from any other source to which the material can be attached) into sufficient electrical current to help power devices or the systems the material is in contact with.

Technique Generates Salinity Gradient Power and Cleans Wastewater

Exploiting the difference in salt concentrations between the freshwater runoff from river mouths at the point where they meet saltwater reservoirs such as seas and oceans to harness power isn’t a new thing.

Technology Converts Flue Gases to Jet Fuel

A new technology promises major advantages for coal-fired power plants, steel mills, and other industries that produce flue gases—and it could quell concerns about the increased use of arable land and food prices related to the production of ethanol.

THE BIG PICTURE: Coal Demand Surges

Patterns of coal trade have been shifting in recent years as demand surges in Asian countries. Whereas Japan and the European Union (EU) have long been the world’s largest hard…

Ukraine Looks Beyond Russian Gas

For years, tensions have been brewing between Russia, which provides about a quarter of the natural gas consumed in the European Union (EU), and neighboring Ukraine, a country through which 80% of those exports travel via pipeline.

Speaking of Power

Abundance of Minerals

What do iPads, flat screen TVs, Chevrolet’s plug-in Volt, and Raytheon’s Tomahawk cruise missiles have in common? Each uses one or more of the 17 rare earth elements in their manufacture, and over 95% of those elements come from China.

GBR Reports