POWER [August 1, 2013]

Cover Stories

AEP’s John W. Turk, Jr. Power Plant Earns POWER’s Highest Honor

AEP’s SWEPCO requested proposals in December 2005 for new generation to meet long-term capacity needs, and by August 2006 the company settled on coal-fired technology for a new plant site in Arkansas. Construction began in early 2008, and the new plant entered commercial service in December 2012. For overcoming numerous legal and regulatory obstacles and for building the first ultrasupercritical plant in the U.S., the John W. Turk, Jr. plant is awarded POWER’s 2013 Plant of the Year Award.

Features

Challenges Facing Power Generators in ERCOT

Although nearly all energy experts agree that demand for electric energy in Texas will outstrip supply in the coming years, developers of new power generation facilities are facing significant headwinds. The cause of the problems is a unique mix of circumstances.


Classic Marmaduke: Marmy’s First Lesson

Steve Elonka began chronicling the exploits of Marmaduke Surfaceblow—a six-foot-four marine engineer with a steel brush mustache and a foghorn voice—in POWER in 1948, when Marmy raised the wooden mast of the SS Asia Sun with the help of two cobras and a case of Sandpaper Gin. Marmy’s simple solutions to seemingly intractable plant problems remain timeless. This Classic Marmaduke story, published more than 50 years ago, reminds us that even the most modern steam plant is only as good as its operators.

Contact Energy Ltd.’s Te Mihi Power Station Harnesses Sustainable Geothermal Energy

Te Mihi Power Station is a two-unit 166-MW geothermal plant currently undergoing commissioning on New Zealand’s North Island. It replaces the Wairakei Power Station constructed in 1958—but with a much smaller environmental footprint. The double flash technology selected produces ~25% more power from the same amount of geothermal fluid that is currently used at Wairakei. For its continuing commitment to renewable geothermal energy, Contact Energy Ltd.’s Te Mihi Power Station is the winner of POWER’s 2013 Marmaduke Award for excellence in power plant problem-solving. The award is named for Marmaduke Surfaceblow, the fictional marine engineer and plant troubleshooter par excellence.

EPB Chattanooga Uses Smart Grid to Future-Proof Its Business Model

A municipal utility in the South may not be where you’d expect to find an exemplary smart grid implementation, but that’s just fine with EPB Chattanooga. Its leaders are raking in the kudos—including POWER’s 2013 Smart Grid Award—and their community is attracting new businesses in response to a fiber-optic-based system that has helped raise the profile of their city and bolster the sustainability of their utility.

Let Gravity Store the Energy

Gravity Power LLC—a startup based in Santa Barbara, California—has developed a low-cost, quick-start, and fast dynamic response energy storage technology that competes with classical pumped storage hydro and gas turbines for peaking and intermediate duty power generation. The system is simple, yet its potential is profound.


R&D Projects Target Cheaper Carbon Capture, Use, and Storage

In order to burn abundant supplies of coal globally while minimizing carbon dioxide emissions, cheaper methods of capturing, using, and storing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants are needed. A new federal agency is on the leading edge of identifying and supporting promising technologies.


Repowering South Mississippi Electric Power Association’s J.T. Dudley, Sr. Generation Complex

Repowering two units at the J.T. Dudley, Sr. Generation Complex added 180 MW of high-efficiency capacity to South Mississippi Electric’s portfolio. Now the cooperative can self-produce more than 50% of its electricity needs.

Departments

Commentary

Soul of the Universe

The theologian John Wesley, so taken with electricity, reverently called it the soul of the universe. Less impressed, perhaps, are state regulatory commissions that nonetheless set service territory boundaries to…

New Products

New Products (August 2013)

240-W LED High-Bay Light for Hazardous Areas Larson Electronics released the the HAL-HB-240W-LED 240-W LED light for high-bay and floodlight applications in Class 1 Division 2 areas. Available with 19-,…

Legal & Regulatory

The Lurking Threat to State RPSs

The backlash against renewable portfolio standards (RPSs) has begun in earnest. In more than 20 states across the country, efforts are afoot to freeze, water down, or repeal one standard or another.

Focus on O&M

Improve Plant Heat Rate with Feedwater Heater Control

Meaningful, yet often hidden thermal performance losses occur in feedwater heaters.

Global Monitor


Documentation Scandal Strains South Korea’s Power Supplies

South Korea, the world’s fourth-largest producer of nuclear power, in June warned of “unprecedented” power shortages this summer after it shut down two reactors due to faulty safety equipment and delayed the start of operations of another last month.

EIA: Non-Shale Gas Resources Add Significantly to Recoverable Global Estimates

An updated estimate of technically recoverable global shale gas resources by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) puts them at 7,299 trillion cubic feet (tcf)—10% higher than estimated in 2011.

Indian VVER Reactors Ready for Startup

Two VVER-1000 reactors built and designed by Russian state firm Atomstroyexport under a $3 billion contract are slated to be commissioned this summer in the State of Tamil Nadu in India.

New Safety Standards Clear Nuclear Fog in Japan

In Japan, where all but two of 50 reactors remain shuttered for safety checks following the 2011 Fukushima catastrophe, at least four major utilities were gearing up to apply for safety screening of 12 reactors across six plants.

POWER Digest  (August 2013)

UN Report on Global Renewable Energy Investment. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) released its report Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2013 on June 11, finding that renewable energy…

UK Government Again Stuns $45B Severn Barrage

A proposal to build a $45.8 billion fixed barrage across the Severn estuary, between Brean in England and Lavernock Point in Wales, suffered another blow in June as an influential UK parliamentary committee deemed a high-profile privately financed proposal unsatisfactory for environmental and economic reasons.

Vehicle-to-Grid Aggregated Project Sells Electricity to the Grid

A technology developed by the University of Delaware (UD) and NRG Energy that provides a two-way interface between electric vehicles and the power grid earlier this year became an official paid resource on PJM Interconnection’s regional grid (Figure 4). One of the first of its kind, the project proves the so-called “vehicle-to-grid” (V2G) concept can sell electricity from electric vehicles.

Speaking of Power

Blowing Smoke

President Obama’s recent comments on climate change and the need for additional federal regulation of greenhouse gases carelessly handled the science he quotes.

GBR Reports