AEP’s John W. Turk, Jr. Power Plant Earns POWER’s Highest HonorAEP’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.
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 LessonSteve 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 EnergyTe 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 ModelA 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.