A brush fire that spread and detonated explosives stored at the Evangelos Florakis naval base in Mari on the southern coast of Cyprus on July 11 killed 13 people, injured 62 others, and severely damaged the Vassilikos Power Station—an oil- and gas-fired plant that supplied almost 60% of the island nation’s power. Cyprus, which was once considered an “economic miracle,” has been battling crippling power shortages that have beleaguered its financial and tourism sectors since the blast and left it on the verge of economic collapse.
A web supplement to the September issue with details of global power shortages.
Heat waves, droughts, and other weather and climate phenomena; economic woes; aging or inadequate infrastructure; fuel shortages. These are some of the most obvious causes that have led to record peaks in power demand or sudden drops in available capacity. The results have been sometimes debilitating load-shedding, brownouts, and blackouts around the globe this summer (and, in some cases, for much longer). Here’s an overview of which countries are affected by which difficulties. For a more detailed look at the extent of shortages and what’s causing them, visit Web Exclusives at https://www.powermag.com
The major economic hurdle for renewable power generation technologies continues to be substantial installation costs. But another cost is associated with continuous load-balancing, made possible by backstopping that variable generation with dispatchable generators that typically consume expensive fossil fuels. Bottom line: Who pays for the capacity firming or backstopping resources?
As barriers to new coal-fired generation expand and enthusiasm for nuclear plants wanes, the commissioning of natural gas–fired plants promises to increase. However, gas plants pose hazards, too. An explosion last year that was caused by unsafe use of natural gas to blow residue from a gas pipeline during commissioning of a gas-fired power plant has focused regulator and industry attention on finding safer alternatives for this task. Fluor shares its gas pipeline cleaning best practices.
Marcellus Shale gas has increased recoverable natural gas reserves in the U.S. by about a third over estimates prepared a few years ago. Europe is also exploring shale gas as an alternative to problematic Russian gas supplies and low proven natural gas reserves. POWER contributors in the U.S. and UK examine the comparative economic value, public acceptance, and political implications of these massive shale gas reserves.
As coal-fired power plants increasingly operate in cycling modes, many plants are confronting the potential for higher levels of component damage and degraded performance of environmental control equipment. Generators and EPRI are working together to find ways to mitigate the effects of cycling operation and to manage the transition of formerly baseload plants to flexible operation.
Cycling your steam power plant is inevitable, so now is the time to learn how to minimize equipment damage and assess the true costs of cycling. Whether cycling is required by the grid operator because of renewable integration or other factors, you must be proactive about updating operating processes and upgrade equipment so the transition to cycling operation goes smoothly.
CTG Universidad is a two-unit combustion turbine plant commissioned in late 1970 by the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) on the north side of Monterrey, Mexico’s third-largest city and an important industrial center. By the 1990s, the two 14-MW turbines were obsolete, used sparingly, and slated for demolition in 2010. However, by 2002, portions of Monterrey began experiencing power restrictions caused by a lack of sufficient reactive power production, and that situation presented an opportunity for the plant. By repurposing an old combustion turbine for use as a synchronous condenser to provide local reactive power, CFE significantly reduced local power supply limitations. For that savvy plant repurposing, CFE’s CTG Universidad Unit 2 is the winner of POWER’s 2011 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.
Two years after it laid the foundation stone, Germany’s E.ON on June 27 opened Hungary’s most efficient combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant (Figure 7). The €400 million ($573 million) plant in Gönyü has a capacity of 433 MW and an efficiency of over 59%, E.ON claims. Siemens supplied the main components: an SGT5-4000F gas turbine, an SST5-5000 steam turbine, an SGEN 5-3000W generator, and the entire electrical and instrument and control equipment. The natural gas–fired power plant is of single-shaft design with the main components arranged in a single driveline.