POWER [September, 15 2008]

Cover Stories

Bugok II Power Plant, Dangjin County, South Korea

South Korea, one of the “Four Asian Tigers” known for their aggressive economies, is boosting its electrical capacity with the recent addition of the Bugok II Power Plant. Ranked as the top plant in South Korea because of its efficient, environmentally friendly operation, the 565-MW plant is powered by combined-cycle units that burn natural gas. Part of this project’s success derives from the fact that Bugok I and II were the first projects awarded to a foreign company by a South Korean independent power producer.

Frank A. Tracy Combined Cycle Plant, Reno, Nevada

At 564 MW, Sierra Pacific Resources’ Frank A. Tracy Combined Cycle Plant is the largest power project constructed in northern Nevada in 24 years and will reduce the state’s dependence on expensive power purchases from out-of-state suppliers. The project achieved a significant safety milestone by expending 1.5 million safe work hours during construction with zero lost-time accidents.

High Bridge Combined Cycle Project St. Paul, Minnesota

With greenhouse gas caps on the horizon, more U.S. utilities now have another reason--besides tightening air pollution limits--to consider replacing some of their old coal-fired plants with less-carbon-intensive gas-fired capacity. Even local residents are pleased with the results of an Xcel Energy project to do just that in St. Paul, Minnesota. For Xcel, the key ingredient in the recipe for its recently commissioned High Bridge plant was hiring an EPC contractor smart enough to overcome formidable site constraints.

Kårstø Power Plant, Stavanger, Norway

Power supplies are looking brighter these days in the Land of the Midnight Sun now that the Kårstø combined-cycle power plant has begun commercial operation. Kårstø is Norway’s first commercial onshore gas-fired combined-cycle plant. Combining Scandinavian savvy with German engineering, this 420-MW plant showcases maximum efficiency coupled with minimal emissions.


Port Washington Generating Station, Phase 2, Port Washington, Wisconsin

We Energies’ Port Washington Generating Station Phase 2 is recognized as a 2008 POWER Top Plant for its design innovation and strong teamwork among the owner, contractor, and craft personnel that ensured project completion on time, on budget, and with a stellar safety record. While staying true to its historical roots, the plant will remain a good neighbor and a reliable provider of intermediate-load power to the region for many years to come.

Features

Air-cooled condensers eliminate plant water use

River or ocean water has been the mainstay for condensing turbine exhaust steam since the first steam turbine began generating electricity. A primary challenge facing today’s plant developers, especially in drought-prone regions, is incorporating processes that reduce plant water use and consumption. One solution is to shed the conventional mindset that once-through cooling is the only option and adopt dry cooling technologies that reduce plant water use from a flood to a few sips.

Deaerator degradation: Managing remaining life and component replacement

Proper attention to dissolved oxygen levels in feedwater is fundamental for long-term equipment reliability, especially in a combined-cycle plant. When equipment approaches its design life, proper use of new analytic tools and technical expertise can identify impending corrosion and erosion problems and provide you with an estimate of remaining equipment life.

EPA’s air program: Still hazy after all these years

While the Bush administration is winding down during its final year, several of its major air pollution initiatives have recently unraveled. These casualties were the result of two recent federal court decisions and the Environmental Protection Agency chief’s refusal to regulate greenhouse gases under existing laws. These developments make it plain that any important new attempts to regulate air emissions will have to be made by the next president.

Put a lid on rising chemical costs

News reports tell us that rapidly growing economies, such as China’s, are importing more oil and raw materials each year, thereby pushing up commodity prices on the world market. One of the side effects of rising commodity prices is considerable increases in the cost of water treatment chemicals. Don’t be tempted to skimp on chemicals to save a buck but risk catastrophic damage. In the words of NASA’s former flight director, Gene Kranz: “Failure is not an option.”

Wet surface air coolers minimize water use by maximizing heat transfer efficiency

Gas-fired power plant designers and operators are increasingly challenged to reduce their plants’ water consumption and improve their thermal efficiency. Closed-loop, evaporative cooling systems (known as wet surface air coolers, or WSACs) are a cost-effective heat transfer technology that can simultaneously achieve both goals. In addition to providing lower-temperature cooling and condensing while requiring less space and horsepower than conventional systems, WSACs can use poor-quality water as spray makeup.

Departments

Commentary

For the center to hold

As oil prices soar and power prices threaten to follow, our republic’s mix of diverse cultural and economic interests must cooperate to achieve our common goal of energy self-sufficiency. Those…

New Products

Legal & Regulatory

Prop 7: California’s illusory promotion of renewable power

This November, as part of California’s eclectic version of participatory democracy, its residents will vote on whether to amend the Solar and Clean Energy Act of 2008. Proposition No. 7…

Focus on O&M

Focus on O&M (September 2008)

Tackling substandard water sources / Control abrasive wear in scrubber piping / Sensors and final control elements

Global Monitor

Global Monitor (September 2008)

Cost hikes for all things nuclear in the U.S. and UK / North Americans plan liquid makeover for coal / California balloon bill deflates in legislative process / The Lego skyscraper / Of manure and methane / U.S. small wind turbine market moving slowly / Israeli desert center tests solar thermal tech for California desert / POWER digest / Correction

Speaking of Power

Gore knows best

Al Gore, self-appointed father of the climate change movement, astonished his most ardent supporters with a plan to produce 100% of the nation’s electricity from renewable energy and carbon-free sources…

GBR Reports