POWER Digest (December 2012)

Georgia Power Completes 2,500-MW Coal-to-Gas Conversion. Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power on Oct. 28 put online the third and final 840-MW natural gas combined cycle unit at Plant McDonough-Atkinson in Smyrna, Ga. The first gas plant went online in December 2011 and the second on April 26. Bringing the plant’s capacity to 2,500 MW, the three units “are capable of producing more than five times the electricity of the coal units that were replaced,” the company claims. Georgia Power retired the two coal units at Plant McDonough-Atkinson on Sept. 30, 2011, and Feb. 29, 2012. Removal of the historic stack at the plant has begun and will be complete by June 2013.

GDF Suez Starts Operations at 860-MW Singapore Gas Plant. GDF Suez on Oct. 29 began commercial operation of two combined cycle gas turbine units, each with a capacity of 430 MW. The two new units are part of Senoko Energy’s Repowering Project, announced in 2008, which aims to convert two 30-year-old oil-fired units into combined cycle units. Senoko Energy is the largest power generation company in Singapore, operating a 3,300-MW portfolio and providing around 25% of the country’s electricity needs. Electricity demand growth in Singapore has averaged 4% per annum over the past 10 years.

Vattenfall Powers Up 675-MW Coal Unit in Germany. Swedish utility Vattenfall started up a new 675-MW coal-fired unit at its 1971-built Boxberg power plant in the German eastern state of Saxony on Oct. 11. The new Boxberg R block brings the Boxberg plant’s total power capacity to 2,575 MW. Vattenfall says the new unit uses advanced technology that incorporates materials research, boiler, and turbine technology. It will need up to 30% less coal than power plants on a worldwide average and feature an efficiency of close to 44%. The plant receives lignite from the nearby Nochten and Reichwalde open-cast (pit) mine.

Bruce Power Completes Refurbishment Program in Ontario. Bruce Power has completed a refurbishment program at its Bruce Power nuclear plant, starting commercial operations of Bruce Power Unit 1 on Oct. 22 and putting the Bruce Power Unit 2 online on Nov. 2. Bruce Power, owned by Canadian companies TransCanada and Cameco, Bruce Power employees, and the Power Workers’ Union, among others, began its “revitalization” program at the nuclear plant in Tiverton, Ontario, almost a decade ago. Bruce Power consists of two generating stations (Bruce A & B) with each station housing four CANDU reactors. Completion of the project, one of Canada’s largest infrastructure projects, means that all eight operating units will be capable of providing more than 6,200 MW, or about 25% of Ontario’s power. It also makes the facility one of the world’s largest nuclear stations.

Tri-Fuel Plant Takes Shape in Jordan. A Wärtsilä -led consortium that includes South Korea’s Lotte Engineering & Construction on Oct. 11 signed a $552 million contract with Jordanian utility Amman Asia Electric Power Co. for the supply of a 573-MW power plant to Jordan. The plant, to be built in Al Manakher near the country’s capital, Amman, will be capable of using natural gas, heavy fuel oil, and light fuel oil. It will be powered by 38 Wärtsilä 50DF multi-fuel engines and fitted with a NOx control system for emissions abatement. The plant will be delivered in three phases, the first of which will be completed in February 2014 and the final by September 2014.

Navy’s Plan to Deploy Marine Power Takes Shape. A plan to develop a utility-scale marine energy project that will enable the U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) to harness the power of ocean currents is making strides. Contracts have already been awarded to privately held marine service providers Eclipse Group Inc., which will lead underwater construction efforts, and Triton Energy Systems, which will spearhead underwater generation engineering efforts. In October, industrial manufacturer Eaton Corp. said it had won a contract to support the project’s land-based engineering, including development of high-voltage electrical distribution. For the project, Eaton has been designated as an Eclipse qualified partner on a Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) SEAPORT-E five year contract with a possible capacity in excess of $19 billion.

Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.