POWER [April 1, 2017]

Cover Stories

Enhanced Boiler Defense Strategies for an Aging Coal Fleet

Cyclic operating conditions can be problematic for many coal-fired power plants that were designed to run as baseload units. Implementing a combustion and boiler performance management program can help ensure

Facilitating Predictive Maintenance of Electrical Assets with Pervasive Sensing Strategies

Continuous condition-based monitoring of electrical conductors and insulation is an effective way to reduce required plant maintenance activities, cut operating costs, and prevent unplanned shutdowns

New Approaches for Transformer Operation and Maintenance

Technology advancements and new regulatory requirements could reshape how power plant owners operate and maintain large power transformers. Experts outline emerging strategies and call attention to overlooked

Reducing Cycling Damage to Combined Cycle Steam Turbines

Cycling a combined cycle plant places additional stresses on all equipment, but the impacts extend beyond the gas turbine and heat recovery steam generator. Plant owners and managers are beginning to see

Simplify Outage Planning to Increase Collaboration

Many elaborate planning tools are available to help managers prepare for power plant outages. However, there is something to be said for keeping things simple. One modest tool that some NRG Energy facilities

Strategies for Small Hydro Upgrades

Small hydro is becoming big business as ongoing technological advances make more small sites economic to exploit. Older plants can also see substantial output and efficiency gains by upgrading from decades-old

The Future Is Now: Connected Power Plants Are Here

New technology is being used throughout the power industry to improve plant efficiency, predict trouble with degrading equipment, forecast weather trends, and train workers. A recent conference hosted by POWER

The Oft-Neglected Isolated Phase Bus Deserves Your Attention

A power plant’s isolated phase bus is generally reliable, and therefore, maintenance is frequently overlooked. However, the system is too important to neglect. Assessing its condition during minor outages


Cybersecurity: Keeping Current on a Moving Target

What it means to have a secure energy generating facility has changed in recent years as the threat of cyberattacks grows. As the nation’s energy sector becomes increasingly interconnected, it is more

High-Performance Oil Reduces Varnish and Saves Money for Gas Turbine Power Plant

Varnish buildup in oil systems and components can degrade performance and cause erratic valve operation. Some experts have conducted research and formulated new lubricants that could help solve those problems.…

U.S. Nuclear: From Hope to Despair

A decade ago, the annual Platts nuclear energy conference in Washington was brimming with optimism over a coming “nuclear renaissance,” as licensing requests poured into the Nuclear Regulatory Commission



Reports of the Electric Grid’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

There have been numerous pronouncements recently about the upcoming demise of the bulk power grid as consumers are projected to move toward decentralized green energy sources. We don’t believe that the end

Legal & Regulatory

The Future of Clean Energy Is Dependent on States and Utilities

U.S. coal production in 2016 reached its lowest level since 1978. However, in its Annual Energy Outlook published in February 2017, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects coal-fired power to

Focus on O&M

Dissimilar-Metal Weld Is a Misnomer

Most combined cycle professionals understand that a joint between grade 91 steel and an austenitic stainless steel is considered a dissimilar-metal weld. For that reason, it requires special welding

Using Rotor-In Major Inspections to Shorten Outages and Drive Safety

Today, some F-class operators continue to opt for rotor-out major inspections, which are cumbersome and inefficient. They involve complex lifts and moves of the rotor, as well as the need for substantial space

Global Monitor

A Wrap-Up of the Energy Union's Second Year

Two years after the Energy Union was launched as a strategy to help the European Union (EU) provide secure, sustainable, competitive, and affordable energy, the 28-member bloc is seeing a precipitous drop in

China's Nuclear Expansion Mired in Overcapacity

China has brought 24 of its 36 operating nuclear reactors online at a breakneck pace since 2010, but there are signs it may roll out future plants that are still under construction more slowly, owing in part

India Gears Up to Expand Fast Breeder Reactor Fleet

India’s Department of Atomic Energy, the entity responsible for research, construction, and operation of the country’s nuclear power reactors, will build two prototype fast-breeder reactors (PFBRs) at

POWER Digest (April 2017)

Russia Marks Milestone with Commercial Operation of Third-Generation Reactor. After nearly a decade of construction, the first advanced third-generation VVER-1200 nuclear reactor began commercial operation on

Who Has the World's Most Efficient Coal Power Plant Fleet?

A comparison of coal power plant fleets from China, the European Union (EU), Japan, and the U.S. by the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) Clean Coal Centre yields surprising insights into efforts these

Speaking of Power

Whether Man-Made or Not, Global Warming Is a Problem

I recently bought a house in southwestern Florida, but not without some reservations. Don’t get me wrong, I love the palm trees and sandy beaches, but what worries me is the area’s sea-level trend, as

GBR Reports