Fluor Corp. Reaches Safety Milestone at Major Texas Coal Power Project. Fluor Corp. workers at Luminant’s Oak Grove Power Plant project in Franklin, Texas, on Nov. 11 achieved a safety milestone of 10 million safe work hours. Fluor is the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor for the proposed two-unit 1,720-MW supercritical lignite coal-fired plant. The company said that at the height of the project it employed nearly 2,400 site-based workers. Initial project construction began in July 2006. Oak Grove Unit 1 is scheduled for completion by the end of the year, and Unit 2 is expected to be complete in mid-2010.

Siemens Energy to Provide Gasifiers for Taylorville IGCC Project. Siemens Energy said on Nov. 9 that it had been chosen to provide coal gasification technology for the Taylorville Energy Center (TEC), a 730-MW integrated gasification combined-cycle plant being developed by Tenaska Energy near Taylorville, Ill. If built, the $3.5 billion project will be one of the nation’s first IGCC projects to capture and store 50% of its carbon dioxide emissions. Tenaska has signed equipment contracts and licensing agreements for four Siemens SFG-500 gasifiers to convert Illinois coal into substitute natural gas. The project’s front-end engineering and design work required by the Illinois Clean Coal Portfolio Standard law is under way, and the project is scheduled to be completed in 2014.

HDR, Aker Construction Canada to Begin Construction of 900-MW Gas Plant. HDR Corp. on Nov. 16 said it received notice from TransCanada Corp. to proceed on construction of a 900-MW natural gas–fired combined-cycle power plant in Oakville, Ontario. The company, in a joint venture with Aker Construction Canada, will execute engineering, procurement, and construction work for the C$1.2 billion project. TransCanada has reportedly secured a 20-year clean energy supply contract with the Ontario Power Authority. The project—which is being seen as a critical component of the province’s initiative to phase out coal-fired power generation—is expected to begin producing power by the end of 2013.

Alstom to Provide New Turbine Generator for Namibian Hydro Plant. Alstom Hydro on Nov. 5 said it had won a contract with Namibia’s state-owned power utility, NamPower, for the supply of the electromechanical equipment and penstocks for a new 92-MW turbine-generator unit at Ruacana power plant. The plant, located on the Kunene River on the border of Angola, is NamPower’s largest power plant, accounting for some 80% of Namibia’s annual electricity production. The €16 million contract is a major investment, and one of the first in several years to help satisfy growing natural electricity demand while lowering the country’s dependence on imports.

Alstom’s scope of supply comprises one generator set, excitation system, control and protection system, and electrical auxiliary systems, as well as connection to the existing plant. The company has supplied most major equipment to the plant since the beginning of its construction in 1977. The new unit will reportedly have an increased overall efficiency of 93.3% and a net head of 130.5 meters. Start of commercial operation is planned for March 2012.

Duke to Study Utility-Scale Wind Energy Storage in Texas. Duke Energy said on Nov. 24 it intends to match a $22 million Recovery Act grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to design, build, and install large-scale batteries to store energy from its 95-turbine, 151-MW wind farm in Ector and Winkler Counties, Texas. The grant will seek to demonstrate how energy storage can help manage renewable power intermittency. The 20-MW energy storage project—one of the nation’s first demonstrations of energy storage at a utility-scale wind farm—is expected to cost $43.6 million. The Electric Power Research Institute will provide advisory services to Duke Energy throughout the development of this project.

—Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.