Archive: O&M

Profiling your plant engineering staff

The latest benchmarking study by the EUCG examines the engineering and technical staffing of 62 plants, 92% of which burn coal. If you benchmark your units, plants, or fleet, the results may raise some eyebrows. But they also may help justify your plea for more intellectual capital during the upcoming budgeting cycle. Though the detailed results of the study are proprietary to EUCG member companies that participated in it, POWER was given access to the complete findings. If you want details at the plant/unit level, you’ll have to join the EUCG and participate in the study, which is ongoing.

Computer-based hydro plant scheduling

Hydroelectric power plant managers face unique scheduling challenges. They have a finite amount of water in their reservoirs available for energy production, and they need to schedule generation according to market demand to maximize profits from their limited “fuel” supply. Hydro power plants are capable of producing products other than electricity. Among them are ancillary […]

Improving the reliability of turbine lube oil supply

Five years ago, San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s Unit 3 turbine experienced substantial damage after the supply of oil to its bearings failed. Because the turbine coasted down without oil after it tripped, its bearings, journals, and steam path needed extensive repairs. A follow-up investigation revealed lube oil system vulnerabilities that were subsequently corrected. The lessons learned might also improve your turbine-generators’ lube oil reliability, saving you many millions in lost revenues.

Standardizing PdM, fleetwide

The pressure on power producers to supply reliable electricity is unyielding. Forced outages, which usually are caused by unexpected component failure or systemic problems, can prove very costly to both bottom line and reputation. To reduce the frequency and duration of unscheduled outages, many gencos are implementing comprehensive predictive maintenance (PdM) programs. Such is the […]

Monitor your fluid levels online

Although fluid monitoring technology has come of age in recent years, its level of sophistication varies widely across industries. Some users of bulk chemicals, fuels, and other fluids use state-of-the-art systems with bells and whistles like automated data gathering and transmission. At the other extreme, some tank farms still “stick the tanks.” Although 95% of large […]


Kansas City Power & Light Installing SCR at La Cygne Generating Station Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L), a subsidiary of Great Plains Energy, has awarded The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) a contract for the installation of new emissions control equipment on Unit 1 at its La Cygne Generating Station. When completed, the selective […]

Project Planning: Repowering or Replacement: What Is the Solution?

Between 1998 and 2002 the U.S. experienced an unprecedented power plant construction boom that consisted mostly of gas-fired, combustion turbine – based power plants. This surge in power plant construction had several driving forces, including electric power deregulation, the emergence of non-utility power producers, a sustained period of plentiful and inexpensive natural gas, and the […]

Keeping condensers clean

There’s a relatively easy way to make a steam plant more efficient and reliable: keep the tubes of its condenser(s) clean. According to George Saxon, Jr., VP of international sales and marketing for Conco Systems Inc. (Verona, Pa.)—a company whose specialty is cleaning and maintaining condenser tubes—"There are two major problems that result from dirty […]

How important is IR detector resolution?

Stretching meager maintenance dollars is a way of life for most maintenance staff. In past years, the cost of an infrared (IR) camera usually came down to a choice between a low-resolution 160 x 120-pixel camera or no camera at all. If the camera was chosen, it usually became clear before long that low resolution […]

Wireless vibration monitoring shows benefits

The 1,768-MW Baldwin Energy Complex in Illinois was the site of a joint-venture pilot project to demonstrate a wireless vibration-monitoring system for a coal pulverizer. The partners in the project were EPRI and the plant’s owner, Houston-based Dynegy Midwest Generation. A key objective of the project was to identify a reliable wireless system capable of […]