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2015 11 Power Magazine

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2015 11 Power Magazine

  1. 1. Vol. 159 • No. 11 • November 2015 Our 2015 Nuclear Top Plant Award Winners Controlling Unwelcome Critters Coping with Boiler Load Cycling Coal Dust Combustion Lessons Learned BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY FOR THE GLOBAL GENERATION INDUSTRY SINCE 1882
  2. 2. Duct Burner2 H.P. Superheater4 H.P. Evaporator5 H.P. Steam Drum15 L.P. Vent Silencer16 H.P. Vent Silencer14 L.P. Steam Drum w/ Integral Deaerator17 Distribution Grid1 Observation Port3 Injection Grid7 S.C.R.8 C.O. Catalyst6 H.P. Economizer10 L.P. Superheater11 H.P. Evaporator9 L.P. Evaporator 13 DA. Pre-Heater 12 Stack18 H.P. Steam Outlet L.P. Superheater Outlet BESTSUITED FORGAS TURBINESUP TO120+MW. In addition to designing and manufacturing world-class industrial boilers, Victory Gpgti{"qhhgtu"jkijn{/ghÝekgpv"JTUIu" vjcv"ctg"ewuvqo/gpikpggtgf"hqt"jkij/Ýtg" systems, including combined heat cpf"rqygt"*EJR+"crrnkecvkqpu0 VEO HORIZON ® Gas-Turbine HRSG • Shop assembled modular design promotes reduction in project construction costs • Fast start-up and rapid response capabilities • Because of the current demand for small to okf/uk|g"JTUI"u{uvgou."Xkevqt{"Gpgti{" jcu"gzrcpfgf"vjgkt"gzkuvkpi"JQTK¥QP ® Icu/Vwtdkpg"JTUI"Ugtkgu"up to 120+ MW0"" Work directly with industry experts known world-wide for providing proven JTUI"uqnwvkqpu"hqt"ukping"wpkvu." multi-unit systems, cogen and combined e{eng"crrnkecvkqpu0" Call 918.274.0023. Stop by Booth # 10302 at Power-Gen 2015 and get a FREE Megawatt Power Selector. VICTORYENERGY.COM - 10701 EAST 126TH STREET NORTH, COLLINSVILLE, OKLAHOMA 74021 F O L L O W A L E A D E R CIRCLE 1 ON READER SERVICE CARD
  3. 3. November 2015 |POWER www.powermag.com 1 Established 1882 • Vol. 159 • No. 11 November 2015 ONTHE COVER Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, located in the Sonoran Desert west of Phoenix, uses 100% recycled municipal wastewater for cooling its condensers. The plant’s on-site treatment facility aer- ates the reclaimed water as part of the treatment process. Courtesy: Arizona Public Service SPEAKING OF POWER Fuel Guidelines, Fuel Consumption, and Climate Change 6 GLOBAL MONITOR New Options for Solar PV 8 India Refocuses Coal Future 9 THE BIG PICTURE: Levelized Cost of Electricity 10 Power Giants to Get Federal Funds to Develop Large-Scale Carbon Capture Pilots 12 AREVA’s Next-Gen BWR Fuel IsTested in the U.S. 12 South Africa Puts First Large IPP Project Online 14 POWER Digest 16 FOCUS ON O&M Smart Access Planning Enables Efficient CoolingTower Maintenance 18 LEGAL & REGULATORY FERC’s Enforcement Priorities After 10Years Under the EPAct 22 By Carlos E. Gutierrez, counsel, Davis WrightTremaine COVER FOCUS: NUCLEAR TOP PLANTS The fate of nuclear fleets depends on where they are located. Countries gener- ally are following one of three paths: widespread shutdowns, ramp-up in new builds, or diligent maintenance of existing units. Our 2015 Top Plant Award winners in the nuclear category demonstrate how varied the experience of these plants can be. Central Nuclear Néstor Kirchner (Atucha II), Lima, Argentina 24 The U.S. isn’t the only country to have seen work begin on a nuclear unit only to halt for many years before being taken up again. In spite of what some- times seemed like insurmountable odds, Atucha II represents not just new capacity but also the revitalization of Argentina’s nuclear industry. PaloVerde Nuclear Generating Station,Wintersburg, Arizona 28 This desert-sited nuclear plant, the largest power generator in the U.S., proves that with superior operation and maintenance, a nuclear plant can be a record- setter even as it moves into its “second lifetime” as a relicensed plant. 12 24 CONNECT WITH POWER If you like POWER magazine, follow us online for timely industry news and comments. Become our fan at facebook.com/POWERmagazine Follow us on Twitter @POWERmagazine Join the LinkedIn POWER magazine Group and the Women in Power Generation Group
  4. 4. www.powermag.com POWER |November 20152 SPECIAL REPORT— OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE Wildlife and Power Plants: New Solutions for Animal Problems 32 From the birds and the bees to invasive aquatic species, power plants around the world struggle to cope safely and economically with unwelcome crea- tures. But cope they must, because failing to stop these trespassers can result in massive damage to plants and potential injury to people. OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE Load Cycling and Boiler Metals: How to SaveYour Power Plant 38 As cycling former baseload units becomes the new normal, concerns about cycling’s effects on equipment mount. You can minimize damage by under- standing how it happens and which strategies mitigate undesired effects. FUNDAMENTALS Ensuring Reliable Boiler OperationThrough Proper Material Analysis 42 Many coal-fired units around the world are reaching middle age but still need to run reliably.This article gives you suggestions for diagnosing and predict- ing boiler health to ensure optimal operation for years to come. SAFETY Minimizing Coal Dust Combustion Hazards: Lessons from Laramie River Station 46 Two coal dust combustion incidents in May 2013 resulted in injuries to two em- ployees and damage to two units. Rather than quietly taking mitigating actions and sweeping the experience under the rug, plant operators are sharing their lessons learned and new best practices so others can adopt them and stay safe. FUEL SUPPLIES Marooned: How Island Power Systems Keep the Lights On 51 Isolated and small, island power systems face unique challenges, but the so- lutions they deploy—both in terms of technology and fuel choices—some- times signal new options for larger, interconnected systems. PROJECT SITING Turning Brownfields into Greenfields: From Coal to Clean Energy 55 From a little-known Environmental Protection Agency program that assists in giving abandoned coal mine sites second wind, to a scheme for bundling carbon credits with coal to create a “compliant fuel,” new options for coal country are being deployed. NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY On the Nuclear Frontier: New Designs Aim to Replace LWRs 60 The quest to replace light-water reactors (LWRs), which dominate today’s nu- clear generating fleet, with cheaper-to-build reactors that promise additional benefits continues, but the pace is slow and the challenges daunting. COMMENTARY Reduce OzoneWhen andWhere It Matters Most 68 By ValerieThomas, Paul Kerl, et al., Georgia Institute of Technology ■ GE Announces Digital Power Plant as Component of the Industrial Internet ■ China to Limit Support for High-Carbon Projects, Begin Nationwide Carbon Cap-and- Trade by 2017 ■ U.S. Nuclear Plants Are Operating Better than Ever ■ Xcel to Retire Two Units at Its Largest Coal-Fired Plant ■ EPA Finalizes Steam Electric Power Plant Effluent Guidelines ■ EPA Issues Final NAAQS Ozone Rule at 70 ppb [UPDATED] ■ Georgia Power to Close All Coal Ash Ponds in Response to EPA CCR Rule ICYMI: TIMELY NEWS POSTED EACH WEEK ON POWERMAG.COM 32 38 51
  5. 5. @WECNuclear Westinghouse Electric Company THE FIRST Our vision is to help our customers generate safer, cleaner, more reliable energy for more people and a better planet. We’re doing just that through the AP1000® nuclear plants under construction around the globe. When the world needed a smart technology solution for clean air energy with a small footprint, we developed our small modular reactor. Now we’re changing the nuclear landscape again, bringing a bright future for nuclear power with our recently announced lead-cooled fast reactor. This Generation V plant will compete with the lowest-cost sources of fossil fuel generation and complement the use of renewable energy. It will capitalize on the high-performance capabilities of what the industry calls accident-tolerant fuel. Of course, our growing reactor portfolio features the unparalleled safety and industry- leading technology you expect from the global nuclear leader. Find out more about our advanced nuclear plants: www.westinghousenuclear.com/new-plants WestinghouseElectricCompanyLLC THE NEXT GENERATION OF ADVANCED NUCLEAR PLANTS TO INNOVATE CIRCLE 2 ON READER SERVICE CARD
  6. 6. www.powermag.com POWER |November 20154 Visit POWER on the web: www.powermag.com Subscribe online at: www.submag.com/sub/pw POWER (ISSN 0032-5929) is published monthly by Access Intelligence, LLC, 4 Choke Cherry Road, Second Floor, Rock- ville, MD 20850. Periodicals Postage Paid at Rockville, MD 20850-4024 and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to POWER, P.O. Box 3588, Northbrook, IL 60065-3588 . Email: pwr@omeda.com. Canadian Post 40612608. Return Undeliverable Canadian Addresses to: IMEX Global Solutions, P.O. BOX 25542, Lon- don, ON N6C 6B2. Subscriptions: Available at no charge only for qualified exec- utives and engineering and supervisory personnel in electric utilities, independent generating companies, consulting en- gineering firms, process industries, and other manufacturing industries. All others in the U.S. and U.S. possessions: $107 for one year, $171 for two years. In Canada: US$112 for one year, US$188 for two years. Outside the U.S. and Canada: US$227 for one year, US$368 for two years. Payment in full or credit card information is required to process your order. Subscription request must include subscriber name, title, and company name. For new or renewal orders, call 847-501- 7541. Single copy price: $25.The publisher reserves the right to accept or reject any order. Allow four to twelve weeks for shipment of the first issue on subscriptions. Missing issues must be claimed within three months for the U.S. or within six months outside U.S. For customer service and address changes, call 847-559- 7314 or fax 847-291-4816 or e-mail pwr@omeda.com or write to POWER, P.O. Box 3588, Northbrook, IL 60065-3588. Please include account number, which appears above name on magazine mailing label or send entire label. Photocopy Permission: For licensing and reprints of POWER magazine content, please contact Wright’s Media at 877-652-5295 or sales@wrightsmedia.com. General mailing address: POWER, 11000 Richmond Av- enue, Suite 690, Houston, TX 77042. Copyright: 2015 Access Intelligence. All rights reserved. EDITORIAL & PRODUCTION Editor: Dr. Gail Reitenbach editor@powermag.com Consulting Editor: Dr. Robert Peltier, PE Associate Editor: Thomas Overton, JD Associate Editor: Sonal Patel Associate Editor: Aaron Larson Senior Graphic Designer: Michele White Production Manager: Tony Campana, tcampana@accessintel.com Contributors: Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Brandon Bell, Lee Buchsbaum, Juan Moreno Cruz, Carlos E. Gutierrez, Paul Kerl, Rama S. Koripelli, Kennedy Maize, Athanasios Nenes, Matthew Realff, Armistead Russell, Joel Sokol, Valerie Thomas, Wenxiang Zhang GENERATING COMPANY ADVISORYTEAM T. Preston Gillespie, Jr., Senior Vice President-Nuclear Operations, Duke Energy Pat McCarty, Generation Manager, Tacoma Power Mark C. McCullough, Executive Vice President, Generation, American Electric Power Sarah P. 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  7. 7. A World of Solutions Visit www.CBI.com THE TEAM YOU TRUST As an integrated engineering, procurement and construction company, CB&I can handle your gas-fired power generation project from start to finish. Our portfolio of services includes engineering, procurement, pipe and steel fabrication, construction and maintenance. Today’s power market requires a team that can deliver with certainty. When it comes to constructing new gas-fired power generation facilities that are reliable and cost effective, trust CB&I’s in-depth market knowledge and industry leading experience. ADVANCED CLASS TURBINES PRICE AND SCHEDULE CERTAINTY INTEGRATED SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS EXTENSIVE CRAFT RECRUITMENT/MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE Contact CB&I at +1 704 343 7500 to learn how our complete solutions in power can benefit your next project. 2015 MEDAL RECIPIENT Entergy’s550MegawattNinemile6CCGTpowerplant 22M102015HCIRCLE 3 ON READER SERVICE CARD
  8. 8. www.powermag.com POWER |November 20156 SPEAKING OF POWER Fuel Guidelines, Fuel Consumption, and Climate Change S ee if you can fill in the blanks: “A debate has been created after a paper was published in the BLANK Journal, suggesting the new BLANK Guidelines . . . are biased and based on an incomplete survey of current studies.” That quote from Digital Journal, referring to the British Med- ical Journal and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, could just as plausibly have been about a different journal and the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Arguments over revised U.S. Dietary Guidelines (due the end of this year) are getting as heated as those over greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations affecting power gen- eration. Both sets of guidelines (the offi- cial designation for the CPP) concern the fuels we consume, and the development of both raised issues of how that consumption is related to climate change. Although most adults can choose the food they eat, they cannot, for the most part, decide what fuels are used to generate their electricity. In the U.S., utility commis- sions as well as state and federal agencies represent individuals in matters concerning what types of generation are allowed to be developed. But whenever there’s any sort of regulation, even “guidelines,” there are those who argue against the specifics—or against regulation in general. I’m not in the latter camp; the Volkswagen emissions- testing “defeat” mechanism is just the lat- est example of why we cannot simply trust the market or corporations to always do what’s safe or legal. But in some respects, the details of government guidelines may not always matter as much as critics claim. The Sustainability Issue One argument against the CPP is that the Environmental Protection Agency is misusing the Clean Air Act to compel GHG emissions reductions. A similar argument was raised with regard to U.S. Dietary Guidelines. These guidelines are updated every five years, and this time around, there was discussion about whether sustainability should be a consideration in what foods were recommended. When the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee proposed earlier this year that Americans eat a less- resource-intensive diet, the North Ameri- can Meat Institute (NAMI) fought back, arguing that, pound for pound, meats, though they require large amounts of land and water to grow grains for feed, deliver more nutrition and calories than grains and fruit—an argument similar to the one that fossil fuels have higher energy den- sity than wind and solar energy. In the end, sustainability was left to other government programs and initia- tives. Had it been included, the debate would quickly have reached the boiling point, as it would have pitted the meat and dairy industries against grain and vegetable producers. That’s because dif- ferent foods require different amounts of resources and result in different environ- mental consequences, from water pollu- tion to GHG emissions. The production of all foods, even organic ones, has environ- mental effects. (The same dynamics are true of electricity sources.) Water consumption is an obvious exam- ple. A single almond, according to NAMI, can require up to 2.8 liters of water (which sounds more dramatic than when expressed as 0.74 gallons); but that’s still less, on a per-calorie comparison basis, than what’s needed for beef production. Then there are the direct and indirect GHG emissions—from the obvious emissions of methane from cat- tle to emissions resulting from tilling fields used for vegetable and grain production. There is, however, a significant differ- ence between establishing GHG emissions guidelines for already-regulated industries, on matters where individuals have limited power of choice, and making GHG reductions or other sustainability goals a criterion for dietary guidelines whose primary purpose is to encourage individual humans’ health. Reducing the environmental impacts of our food choices may be a worthy goal, but it’s more appropriately addressed as an educa- tional (and perhaps moral) issue. Personal Choice Overrides Guidelines Telling Americans what they should or should not eat is far more likely to prompt a response than guidelines shaping how fu- els are used in power generation. (Google Bloomberg soda.) For some, including chil- dren who eat school-provided meals, those choices are already curtailed. One mother I know was aghast this fall when her eldest, just starting kindergarten, was being fed breakfast items far higher in sugar than anything she would have served at home. Yet, the school system dietician’s choices are based on U.S. Dietary Guidelines. School menus aside, for the majority of Americans, dietary guidelines are less pow- erful than they seem. Freedom to choose what we eat can be as personally mean- ingful as one’s choice of music. Although I know individuals who actually are gluten- intolerant, and those who have food aller- gies or medical reasons for avoiding certain foods, many have adopted low-carb/high- fat or vegan or raw diets for purely personal reasons—whether they be weight loss, reli- gious beliefs, or philosophical positions. Most days, my attitude toward dueling di- etary choices is to live and let live. In a world where millions still lack sufficient access to nutritious food, most arguments about food choices seem like shallow “First-World prob- lems.” Whatever happened to “everything in moderation”? That sounds a lot like the “all of the above” energy plans put forth by both federal and state leaders. Just one example: New Mexico’s Republican governor recently endorsed an all-of-the-above energy plan for her fossil fuel–rich state, which also is rich in solar and wind resources. Regardless of dietary guidelines, most adults will continue to follow their own paths—from paleo to vegan to locavore. Their choices will be shaped by a stew of sci- ence, guidelines, marketing, doctor’s orders, beliefs, and taste buds. The story’s not much different for power. When given a choice— which is becoming more common with dropping prices for renewables and battery storage—consumers large and small will opt to consume specific fuels based on a mix of price, convenience, marketing, beliefs, and self-image, so it shouldn’t be surprising that increasing numbers are choosing renewables for climate-change reasons. As for me, I’m in the omnivore, all-of-the- above camp, provided everything is in sensi- ble portions and produced as sustainably as possible. Now, it’s time for my mid-afternoon apple, almond, and chocolate break. ■ —Gail Reitenbach, PhD is POWER’s editor.
  9. 9. PCL.com/PICCo W"; W"Iラミ I ラミ" ; ミW " エラ" W ラミS" ラ" エW" ミキ W"Iラミ I ラミ"ミWWS " ラa"IノキWミ "キミ" エW" ラ W が"IラェWミW ; ラミが"ラキノ";ミS"ェ; が" W ラIエWマキI;ノが";ミS"マキミキミェ" キミS キW く" W"; W" ; キラミ; W";Hラ " エ; " W"Sラ";ミS";Hラ "I W; ミェ" IIW a ノ" ラ IラマW "aラ "ラ "IノキWミ " エキIエ"ノW;S" ラ"ラ "マ ;ノ" IIW く" W"ノララニ"HW ラミS" エW"キママWSキ; W" ラテWI "ミWWS " ラ" WW" エW"HキェェW " キI Wぎ" ラ" ミSW ;ミS" ラ "H キミW "ェラ;ノ が" エ; W" ラ " キ キラミ"ラa" IIW ";ミS" ラ ニ" WノW ノ " ラ"W IWWS" ラ "W WI ; ラミ く TOGETHER WE BUILD SUCCESS. 640 MW Combined Cycle Power Plant Louisville, Kentucky Come visit us at booth #6847 POWER-GEN® Las Vegas, NV Dec. 8-10 CIRCLE 4 ON READER SERVICE CARD
  10. 10. www.powermag.com POWER |November 20158 New Options for Solar PV The global market for solar photovoltaic (PV) panels shows no signs of slowing down, with cumulative installed capacity expected to reach 700 GW and annual de- mand to pass 100 GW by 2020, according to GTM Research. This booming market has spurred manufacturers to introduce a va- riety of innovations intended to increase panel efficiency and reduce manufactur- ing, installation, and ancillary costs. South Korean firm LG Electronics intro- duced a new version of its NeON PV cells at the Solar Power International (SPI) conference in Anaheim, Calif., in mid-Sep- tember. The NeOn 2 makes several breaks with traditional silicon PV cell design (Fig- ure 1). First, rather than employ the usual two- or three-ribbon approach across the cell to gather the electric charge, the NeON 2 uses an array of 12 wires. LG says this design offers a number of advantages. First, by dividing the current among a larger number of conductors, the electrical loss through each wire is greatly reduced. Second, the use of round wires in place of flat ribbons means light entering the cell is scattered more efficiently and less is reflected out. Finally, because each cell has more conductors, microcracks and other defects that develop in the cell over time have far less effect on output be- cause there are many more paths for the electric current. In addition, the NeON 2 cells are bifa- cial, able to absorb light from both sides. This makes them more efficient when sun- light strikes the cells at less-than-ideal angles during morning and evening hours. LG says the 320-W, 60-cell NeON 2 pan- els are able to generate more power than conventional 72-cell panels and offer up to 3% higher efficiency than the first- generation NeON design. Though they have garnered far fewer sales and less attention than crystalline silicon PV cells, thin-film copper-indium- gallium-selenide (CIGS) panels have main- tained a market niche (around 7% in 2015, according to research firm IHS) because of certain advantages they have over crys- talline silicon–based panels, mainly that they are lighter, thinner, more flexible, and have a reduced visual footprint. Taiwanese CIGS manufacturer Hulk En- ergy Technology (Hulket) and Italian firm ENERGYKA Electrosystem debuted a new product at SPI that combines Hulket’s CIGS panels into a flexible multi-panel module (Figure 2). The Prometea modules are available in outputs from 100 watts to 500 W. They are foldable, portable, and can be installed with far less effort and additional equipment than crystalline sili- con PV panels. Finally, San Jose–based Silicor Ma- terials has developed an alternative to traditional polysilicon that is produced through a proprietary metals-based pro- cess requiring two-thirds less energy but still achieving conversion efficiencies in line with traditional materials. Silicor an- nounced at SPI that it has secured $105 million in equity capital agreements to support the construction of its first com- mercial-scale manufacturing operation in Grundartangi, Iceland. The company has already secured sales commitments equal to approximately 75% of the plant’s an- nual production capacity, it said. Silicor CEO Terry Jester told POWER that the process is based on tradition- al aluminum smelting, where silicon is viewed as an impurity. Basing their fac- tory in Iceland—where aluminum smelt- ing is a major industry due to the island’s cheap hydroelectric power—allows them to reduce costs by partnering with local aluminum companies. Unlike traditional silicon production, which relies on hydro- chloric acid and trichlorosilane, Silicor’s process requires no toxic chemicals—a major criticism that has been leveled at the solar PV industry as its footprint has grown. Jester said Silicor expects to break ground on the factory next year and begin production in 2018. —Thomas W. Overton, JD, associate editor1. Neon light. LG’s NeON 2 solar photo- voltaic cells use an array of narrow wires to gather power across the cell instead of the traditional ribbons. Courtesy: LG Electronics 2. Solar accordion. The multi-panel Prometea CIGS module (2.2 m x 1.4 m x 4 mm) is ideal for installation in areas with difficult topography or where traditional mounting approaches are problematic. Courtesy: Hulk Energy Technology/ENERGYKA
  11. 11. November 2015 |POWER www.powermag.com 9 India Refocuses Coal Future India, the world’s most coal-dependent nation, has over the last few months very publicly shifted its stance on coal power. In October, the country announced its commitment for the upcoming COP21 global climate talks in Paris, pledging to improve the carbon emissions intensity of its gross domestic product (GDP) by 33% to 35% below 2005 levels by 2030. That com- pares to China’s recent pledge to reduce the intensity of its GDP by 60% to 65% during the same period. The Indian government, which introduced the plan with much fan- fare, said the target would allow India and its carbon-intensive industrial neighbor to have almost the same emission intensity levels by 2030. Perhaps more noteworthy, however, is that India also pledged to increase the share of electricity produced by non-fos- sil fuels to an impressive 40% by 2030. While that isn’t a steep increase for the country whose current power mix in- cludes 30% renewables, including hydro, it is detrimental to its coal sector, which it depends on to produce about 60% of its power (Figure 3). Plant Closures The central government’s strategy to boost power capacity yet cut carbon emis- sions and utilize coal efficiently is novel: It wants to close coal plants with a to- tal generation capacity of 36 GW that are more than 25 years old and replace them with newer supercritical units. The driv- ing factor for this approach is scarcity of resources like land, water, and coal. In a comprehensive review with states held this September, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) pointed to proposed supercritical coal power ca- pacity additions of 84.6 GW in its 13th Five Year Plan (2017–2022) and direct- ed utilities to explore possible options to use existing land and other facilities more efficiently. The CEA will also re- quire states to submit plans for the re- tirement, replacement, and renovation of aging plants. Several states—includ- ing Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and the newly created Telangana state—have already chosen to kick- 3. Coal giant. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL) this August commissioned the 500- MW Unit 13 of the Vindhyachal SuperThermal Power Station in Vindhyanagar in Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh. This is the seventh 500-MW unit commissioned by BHEL at the plant. Vindhyachal is a 4.7-GW pithead power plant. Courtesy: NTPC CIRCLE 5 ON READER SERVICE CARD
  12. 12. www.powermag.com POWER |November 201510 THE BIG PICTURE: Levelized Cost of Electricity VARIABLERENEWABLES Levelized cost of electricity ** ($/MWh) 0 100 200 30050 150 25025 75 125 175 225 275 325 BASELOAD 350 Coal Nuclear Solar PV—Residential Solar PV—Commercial Solar PV—Utility-scale Onshore wind Offshore wind 375 Natural gas CCGT The notion of a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) has become a handy one for comparing unit costs of different technolo- gies over their economic life, but it varies widely among countries. Those variations can typically be explained by changes in discount rates*; fuel, carbon, or construction costs; operation and maintenance costs; and even load factors and plant lifetimes. Source:"ProjectedCostsofGeneratingElectricity,"InternationalEnergyAgency/NuclearEnergyAgency(2015).For more, see POWER's in-depth analysis of that report at http://goo.gl/fyyJhY. —Copy and artwork by Sonal Patel, a POWER associate editor 3% discount rate 7% discount rate 10% discount rate KEY Notes: *Discount rate = return on capital for an investor in the absence of specific market or technology risks; data is limited mostly to Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. **The International Energy Agency calculates average lifetime levelized costs on the basis of the costs for investment; operation and maintenance; fuel; carbon emissions; and decommissioning and dismantling of 181 plants in 22 countries. These include selected OECD member countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, and U.S. Flags represent the highest- and lowest-cost OECD countries for each scenario. South Korea Japan Portugal UK U.S. Denmark Austria Belgium Germany France
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  14. 14. www.powermag.com POWER |November 201512 start the replacement of older plants, seeking environmental clearances from the Ministry of Environments, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEFCC). Strict New Environmental Rules Are Coming Finally, the government is committed to curbing air pollution from coal-fired pow- er plants. This May, MoEFCC proposed the first- ever federal standards for sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and mercu- ry. The rule proposes to require the na- tion’s fleet of plants larger than 500 MW to meet SO2 limits of 200 milligrams per normal cubic meter (mg/Nm3), and NOx limits of 300 mg/Nm3. New plants com- missioned after 2017 will be required to have flue gas desulfurization to cut SO2 emissions to 100 mg/Nm3, and they would need to meet NOx norms of 100 mg/Nm3. According to the Center for Science and Environment (CSE), a New Delhi–based public interest research and advocacy group, the limits would imply cuts in SO2 emissions of 80% for existing plants and about 15% in NOx emissions. The rule would also limit mercury emis- sions (achieved via pollution controls and coal washing) to 0.03 mg/Nm3, the same as China’s. (Comparatively, the U.S. limit is 0.0017 mg/Nm3.) Then, they would substantially tighten particulate emission standards—India’s only federally mandat- ed air pollution standards—to between 50 and 150 mg/Nm3. That’s “quite relaxed compared to global norms of 30 mg/Nm3,” notes CSE, but still effective. Earlier this year, the group estimated that almost two-thirds of India’s coal fleet doesn’t meet existing limits. And, as stringently, the rule calls for water consumption limits. Once-through cooling system–based plants would need to convert to cooling towers and cut wa- ter draw to 4 m3/MWh from the current average of around 150 m3/MWh. “New plants would need to cut water use to 2.5 m3/MWh, which is equal to the av- erage water use of Chinese plants,” says CSE. “A global best cooling tower based plant has water consumption as low at 1.6m3/MWh.” Power Giants to Get Federal Funds to Develop Large-Scale Carbon Capture Pilots The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) wants GE to plan and propose a large-scale pilot test of a carbon dioxide capture solution that uses a class of amino silicone com- pounds used to soften hair or clothing. The agency’s National Energy Technol- ogy Laboratory (NETL) said in September it will award the company $1 million in Phase I funding to test the solution at the CO2 Technology Center at Mongstad (TCM) in Norway (Figure 4). As GE explained, at temperatures of around 105F, the amino silicone mate- rials attach to CO2 gas. When the heat is increased by another 100 degrees F, the materials release the carbon and can then be reused to capture more. While it sounds unremarkable, the process holds a major advantage over competing ap- proaches because it does not require water. That “substantially reduces the energy required to capture the carbon,” the company said. GE’s proposal was among six projects that will receive federal funding for large- scale pilots to reduce the cost of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). South- ern Co. will get about $700,000 to test improvements to the CCS process using an existing 25-MW, amine-based CO2 cap- ture process at Plant Barry in Alabama. NRG Energy will get $1 million to test Inventys’ VeloxoTherm post-combustion project, which will process a 10-MW slip- stream of coal flue gas to separate CO2, likely at NRG’s Petra Nova W.A. Parish plant near Houston (where it is already retrofitting a CCS system). The University of Illinois will also get about $1 million to capture 500 metric tons per day of CO2 with a 90% capture rate from existing coal-fired boilers at the Abbott Power Plant on its Urbana-Champaign campus, using Linde/BASF’s amine-based absorp- tion system. Meanwhile, alongside GE, the Universi- ty of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) will receive about $1 million for a pilot facility at TCM that will use micro-algae to capture carbon from power plant CO2 emissions. Alstom Power will, at the same time, conduct a three- year pilot program at TCM to implement several concepts for improving and low- ering the overall cost of Alstom’s chilled ammonia process. Only two of the six projects will qualify for Phase II funding, the DOE expects. The Phase 2 awards for construction and ex- ecution of pilot testing are anticipated by mid-2016. AREVA’s Next-Gen BWR Fuel Is Tested in the U.S. AREVA has installed the first-ever boil- ing water reactor (BWR) assemblies in the U.S. that features an 11x11 fuel rod ar- 4. Capture facility. The Norwegian government began developing—but then canceled in September 2013—a full-scale carbon-capture project at the CO2 Technology Center at Mong- stad, in Norway. The state-of-the art research facility got a boost this fall, however, when the U.S. Department of Energy said it will grant three entities millions of dollars in federal funds to develop large-scale pilots to reduce the cost of carbon capture. Courtesy: TCM
  16. 16. www.powermag.com POWER |November 201514 ray, the French nuclear giant revealed this September. The new fuel design, the ATRIUM 11, has been used to produce power at two nuclear plants since April, though AREVA declined to name the reactors. However, the company told POWER that to date a total of 40 lead fuel assemblies are oper- ating in five reactors in four countries. In- cluding the two in the U.S., they have also been installed in Switzerland, Finland, and Germany since 2012. AREVA—a company that has designed and manufactured fuel for both BWRs and pressurized water reactors (PWRs) for 40 years, but which also suffered record losses in 2014—is determined to return to profitability by refocusing on its core nuclear power business. The announcement marks a major milestone for its fledgling lead fuel assembly de- sign, which it says will provide higher intrinsic safety margins. AREVA is also developing the GAIA fuel assembly de- sign for PWRs in parallel with the ATRI- UM 11. There is substantial interest in both designs in Europe and in the U.S., the company said. AREVA said that the fuel design im- proves safety by reducing fuel operating temperatures and peak cladding stress under operation. “When engineers balance the uranium loading and enrichment, the economic benefit is a bonus,” said AREVA spokesperson Curtis Roberts in September. Additionally, the new design offers better operational flexibility, which is valuable for plants that have implemented power uprates or optimized capacity factor oper- ating strategies, he said. “Since it has the same external dimen- sions, the ATRIUM 11 fuel design is installed identically to the existing fuel design oper- ating in each reactor,” Roberts explained. “The fuel burns typically for three cycles and, following each cycle, post-irradiation examinations have been completed show- ing expected performance.” The 16 lead fuel assemblies installed at the two unnamed reactors were manufac- tured at the company’s Richland, Wash., facility (Figure 5). “The completion of these real-life tests will allow delivery (in full-scale quantities) of the ATRIUM 11 de- sign in 2017 in Europe, and 2019 in the U.S.,” said Roberts. South Africa Puts First Large IPP Project Online South Africa reached a milestone this Sep- tember when it put online its first large- scale project owned by an independent power producer (IPP). The inauguration of the 335-MW Dedisa Peaking Power plant located in Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape’s Coega Industrial Development Zone, marks a shift in the way electricity is pro- This is where KSB puts our Energy Our technology. Your success. Pumps p Valves p Service If you operate a conventional power station, you play an important role in meeting the world’s energy needs. KSB’s pumps and valves are designed with state-of-the-art technology that will improve your overall plant performance and reliability. The latest materials technology and our engineers’ skill and experience are at your service. www.ksbusa.com CIRCLE 8 ON READER SERVICE CARD 5. New nuclear fuel design. AREVA’s Ken McKeown inspects an ATRIUM 11 fuel rod assembly bundle at the compa- ny’s fuel manufacturing facility in Richland, Wash. Courtesy: AREVA
  17. 17. DesignEngineering•DigitalControlSystems•FloodingAnalysis•SecurityEngineeringandDesign•ElectricalAnalysis•RiskAssessments-PRA•SeismicEngineeringandAnalysis StructuralAnalysis•EnvironmentalCompliance•Permitting•SitingStudies•Substations•FireProtectionandFireSafeShutdownServices•BuriedPiping•CWA316(b)Compliance PowerUprate•EmergencyPlanning•PlantModificationsandUpgradeSupport•DecommissioningPlanning 500 TownPark Lane Kennesaw, GA 30144-5509 t 770.919.1930 e info@enercon.com You know our name. You know our company. Our engineering services span the power plant industry. With 29 strategically located offices and over 1750 employees ready to work 24/7, we live our credo—Excellence – Every Project. Every Day. Our focus has helped us become one of the largest and most respected engineering and environmental firms serving the power industry. With long term contracts in place to support power plant operators, we have become known as the “go to company”for resources and technical expertise. Seismic and flooding analyses are just two of the many areas we know and are recognized as industry experts. Recently acquiredTALISMAN and MARACOR expand our capabilities in the regulatory, licensing and PRA areas. Call or email. Find out why ENR consistently ranks us as a top design firm in the United States. Supporting Power. One Generation to the Next. CIRCLE 9 ON READER SERVICE CARD
  18. 18. www.powermag.com POWER |November 201516 duced in the power-strapped country. The plant is owned by Dedisa Peaking Power (a subsidiary of French firm ENGIE, formerly GDF Suez), Legend Power Solu- tions, Mitsui & Co., and The Peaker Trust. Built by Italian firms Ansaldo Energia and Fata, the plant is currently an open cycle gas turbine (OCGT) peaking facility (Figure 6) that will operate on diesel for about four hours a day. Power will be sold to Es- kom Holdings, the state-owned utility that generates 95% of South Africa’s power, un- der a 15-year power purchase agreement. “In the longer term, the project’s sponsors envisage a conversion to gas-fired, com- bined cycle facility in the framework of the Department of Energy [DOE] gas mas- ter plan. The facility is designed to allow such conversion,” Dedisa CEO Arnaud de Limburg told POWER in September. The project got its start in 2006 as Eskom realized it would face debilitat- ing power shortages if new generation wasn’t built quickly, and it called on the government to encourage a greater role for the private sector in meeting the country’s future electricity needs. Es- kom argued that the measure would re- duce the government’s funding burden, relieve the utility’s borrowing require- ments, and introduce generation tech- nologies that it might not consider part of its core function, such as distributed generation, co-generation, and small- scale renewable projects. The DOE relented, and in August 2011—as the country battled chronic power supply issues—it issued a request for proposals, inviting IPPs to bid in a competitive process. The open cycle gas turbine (OCGT) program calls for 1,000 MW of IPP-built power plants, of which Dedisa is the first to begin operations. “Being the very first IPP project in South Africa, it took several years of development before execution of con- tracts with DOE and Eskom, and reach- ing financial close in mid-2013,” said de Limburg. While the DOE and Eskom have plans for more large IPP-built projects (including for coal and combined cycle gas turbines), he noted that only one other large-scale IPP-built project is under construction in South Africa: the 670-MW Avon Peaking Power OCGT proj- ect near Durban (KwaZulu-Natal). POWER Digest Dutch Court Clears Eemshaven Coal Plant for Operation. A Dutch court on Sept. 9 rejected claims that an environ- mental license issued for RWE’s 1.6-GW Eemshaven coal-fired power plant was is- sued improperly, clearing the way for the $3.36 billion plant to begin operations at full capacity. Environmental groups have opposed the plant’s location near nature reserves. Both Germany—which will soon phase out nuclear power—and the Netherlands—whose gas fields are in decline—back the hard coal project. The project involved construction of two ultra- supercritical coal-fired units, Block A and Block B, that can start up and shut down quickly. Construction began in 2008, and the plant was scheduled to begin operat- ing in 2014. Flamanville Sees Costs Soar to $11.8B, New Delays. French state- controlled utility Électricité de France’s (EDF’s) Flamanville reactor, which began construction in northern France in 2007, won’t come online until at least 2018, the company said. Costs for the first- of-its-kind EPR reactor have meanwhile surged from €3.3 billion (2005 values) to €8 billion ($9 billion) in 2012 and €10.5 billion ($11.8 billion) in 2015. The company said in a statement that 98% of the building civil structure has been completed as well as 60% of the elec- tromechanical work. Putting in place a new organizational structure, EDF said it would now strive to complete instal- lation of the primary circuit in the first quarter of 2016 and load fuel and start up the reactor by late 2018. Startup of the much-delayed Olkiluoto 3 EPR under construction in Finland is also slated for 2018. The world’s other two EPR projects, Taishan 1 and 2 under construction in China, could come online earlier, in 2016 and 2017. EDF is also considering build- ing two EPRs in the UK. Rostov Unit 3 Reactor Begins Com- mercial Operation. Unit 3 of the Ros- tov nuclear power plant in Russia has been commissioned two months ahead of schedule and is now operational, said Russia’s state-owned nuclear entity Ro- satom on Sept. 24. Construction of that unit began in 2009. The nuclear plant is located on the bank of the Tsimlyansk Reservoir, about 14 km from Volgodonsk. It now comprises three units with VVER- 1000 reactors. Unit 1 was put into com- mercial operation in 2001 and Unit 2 in December 2010. Unit 4, another VVER- 1000, is under construction with opera- tions expected to begin in 2017. Indonesia Kicks Off Coal Plant Con- struction, Island Electrification, Tidal Power Development. PT Bhimasena Power Indonesia—a joint venture of J- POWER, Adaro Power, and Itochu—on Aug. 28 kicked off construction of the 2-GW PLTU Batang coal-fired plant in Central Java, Indonesia. The $4 billion ultrasupercritical project is the nation’s first large-scale public-private partnership (PPP) project. The two-unit plant could come online by 2019. Also on Aug. 28, Indonesia’s govern- ment implemented a program to put up 149 diesel gensets—a total of 67.8 MW—in 50 locations across 13 provinces to supply power to customers in outer islands and border areas. The provinc- es include Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Riau, Riau 6. IPP kickstart.The newly opened 335-MW Dedisa Peaking Power Plant in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, is the first large-scale power project built in the country by an independent power producer. Courtesy: Dedisa Peaking Power
  19. 19. November 2015 |POWER www.powermag.com 17 Islands, West Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, East Nusa Tenggara, North Sulawesi, Maluku, North Maluku, and Papua. Meanwhile, state-owned utility PT PLN signed a memorandum of understanding with marine power projects developer SBS to develop a tidal power project in West Nusa Tenggara. The $350 million tidal stream plant, which would be Indonesia’s first com- mercial-scale project, would be built in phases beginning with an initial 12-MW pilot and eventually scaled up to 140 MW. AGL Sells Its Share in 420-MW Australian Wind Farm. Australian power generator AGL Energy on Sept. 7 sold its 50% participating interest in the 420-MW Macarthur Wind Farm joint venture to New Zealand–based investment manage- ment firm Morrison & Co. for A$532 million. The remaining 50% interest is held by Malakoff Corp. Berhad. However, AGL said it will continue to operate and maintain the Macarthur Wind Farm on behalf of Morrison & Co. and Malakoff, and it retains the rights to all Renewable Energy Certificates and electricity output until 2038. The Macarthur Wind Farm—a 2013 POWER magazine Top Plant award winner—is located in southwest Victoria. It was constructed by Vestas and Leigh- ton Contractors with 140 Vestas V112, 3-MW turbines and was completed in January 2013. “The sale of the Macarthur Wind Farm is the first step toward AGL’s target of $1 billion in as- set divestments by the end of FY17. The sale of this asset will improve the company’s capital efficiency while retaining its BBB credit rating,” the company said. Westinghouse to Dismantle Closed German Nuclear Plant. Westinghouse Electric Co. won a contract on Sept. 8 to dismantle the reactor pressure vessel and internals at the Philippsburg Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1 in Germany. The reac- tor operated by EnBW Kernkraft GmbH was permanently shut- tered by a German government mandate in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan. Westinghouse’s scope in- cludes planning, equipment manufacture, and on-site segmen- tation of the reactor vessel internals and the reactor vessel, including peripheral structures. The scope for the contract will be executed by a consortium comprising NUKEM Technologies Engineering Services GmbH (NTES) and GNS Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Service mbH under the lead of Westinghouse Electric Germany GmbH. The work will be carried out under the direction of EnBW when the decommissioning license is granted by the Ministry of the Environment, Climate, and En- ergy of Baden-Württemberg. Statkraft Opens 172-MW Hydro Plant in Peru. Norwe- gian energy group Statkraft in late August opened the 172-MW Cheves hydropower plant in Peru. The plant, 130 kilometers north of the capitol Lima in the Huaura River, consists of two aggregates and exploits a gross head of 600 meters. Based on water from the Andes, it will generate 840 GWh annually, power that will be sold on a long-term power purchase agree- ment with eight local distribution companies. Siemens Awarded Plant Components for Maryland Gas Plant. Siemens will supply the main components for the 735- MW natural gas–fired Keys Energy Center in Maryland to SNC- Lavalin Constructors, who will act as the turnkey engineering, procurement, construction contractor for the project. Siemens will deliver two SGT6-5000F gas turbines, one SST-5000 steam turbine, two air-cooled generators SGen-1000A, and the asso- ciated turbine instrumentation and control systems. The plant, owned by Public Service Enterprise Group, is expected to come online in 2018. ■ —Sonal Patel is a POWER associate editor. 800.787.7325 e-mail: power@sealeze.com www.sealeze.com ISO 9001 Certified For more than 25 years, Sealeze has helped design and manufacturing engineers design solutions. Adaptive Brush Seal Solutions for Air Preheaters Sealeze’s patented brush-based sealing system delivers reliability and extended functional service life. Replace seals less often standard seals. under deformation; reducing drag, wear and sudden failures. More effective than other seal sizes and surface irregularities for a continuous seal. creating a high integrity seal. Under pressure these High performance. Long life. CIRCLE 10 ON READER SERVICE CARD
  20. 20. www.powermag.com POWER |November 201518 Smart Access Planning Enables Efficient Cooling Tower Maintenance Two hyperbolic cooling towers rise 495 feet over Exelon Corp.’s Byron Generating Station about 110 miles west of Chicago, Ill. The towers help cool the two Westing- house pressurized water reactors that are capable of generating up to 2,346 MW at the site. Like all classic wet transfer hyperbolic cooling towers (Figure 1), the Byron Gen- erating Station uses fill packs to increase the exposed surface area of the water, as well as to increase the air-to-water contact time. These actions increase the rate of heat transfer and the amount of heat transfer, respectively. In a film-type fill pack, water flows in a thin film over stacks of vertically oriented plastic sheets spaced about 0.75 inch apart. The sheets feature a corrugated or V-shaped pattern to further increase surface area and con- tact time. An Upgrade Is Warranted Recent film-fill developments have cre- ated low-clog, open, angular cross-corru- gations that allow debris and biological growth to pass through. However, this design did not exist when the towers at Byron were built. Over the years, the station’s fill packs developed excess bio- logical growth and accumulated silt. As a result, the fill packs bulked up from less than 100 pounds to more than five times their original weight. Normally, fill packs hang 30 to 35 feet above the cold-water basin (Fig- ure 2). However, they are designed to break away and fall from their attach- ments when they get too heavy, a fea- ture that prevents damage to the tower structure. When several of the fill packs attached to the cooling towers of the Byron Gen- erating Station became over-burdened and fell into the cold water basin, Ex- elon engineers decided to replace all of the fill packs in both towers. They also decided to replace the drift eliminators, honeycomb-like PVC components (Figure 3) that hang above the water distribu- tion system to capture and limit the quantity of water droplets contained in the air stream leaving the cooling tow- er. In all, more than 5,000 components would need replacement. To perform the maintenance, Exelon consulted SPX Cooling Technologies Inc., its cooling tower manufacturer. The work had to be done within two three-week windows, six months apart, while the re- actors were shut down for routine sched- uled refueling. Planning was critical. Surprises, delays, or complications would affect Exelon’s ability to deliver electricity to northern Illinois. 1. Tall order. SPX Cooling Technologies Inc. was tasked with replacing more than 5,000 components in both of Byron Generating Station’s hyperbolic cooling towers during two three- week maintenance periods. Courtesy: David Joel Photography 2. A cool design. During operation, water flows over fill packs (shown here being lifted into position under the water distribution nozzles using a telehandler) in a thin film, improving heat transfer by increasing the exposed surface area of the water. Courtesy: David Joel Photography
  21. 21. November 2015 |POWER www.powermag.com 19 Working Quickly and Safely SPX’s first challenge was getting access to the fill packs in a way that would al- low its staff to work quickly and safely. As noted, the fill packs are above the cooling basin, which holds 8.5 feet of water. The drift eliminators are above the fill packs, with components for the water distribution located between them. The basin itself also contains a network of pipes for water circulation. During opera- tion, water falls inside the cooling tower at a rate nearly that of a thunderstorm. In short, gaining access to the fill packs and drift eliminators required extensive planning, extreme efficiency, and atten- tion to safety. SPX has a longstanding relationship with Safway Services, an access and industrial services company based in Waukesha, Wis. Safway specializes in complex industrial environments where planning, efficiency, and safety are all critical to success. “We know Safway has the right equip- ment, and we know they have the design (engineering) services we need for an en- vironment like this,” said Duane Krehbiel, director of MCT Services Construction at SPX and project manager for the Exelon job. “With a job like this there’s a lot of work up front, and we know Safway will do it right.” The Right Stuff The “right equipment” Krehbiel mentioned is Safway’s Systems Scaffold, which is en- gineered to provide fast and easy erection. To assemble it, workers hook horizontal or diagonal members (galvanized steel tub- ing) to rings on the vertical posts. Using a hammer, they drive home a wedge until a retainer pin drops and locks the member in place. To disassemble, workers lift the retain- er pin with a Safway pry-bar hammer and loosen the wedge with a quick flick of the hammer. The design allows for 360- degree placement around the vertical post rings, and rings are spaced every 21 inches on vertical posts for easy height adjustment (Figure 4). Special compo- nent jacks, support frames, braces, and varying lengths of the horizontal mem- bers enable the scaffold to conform to sloping surfaces (such as on a boiler cav- ity), and all components can be passed through small openings. “Cooling towers present complex ac- 3. Puzzling pieces. In addition to chang- ing fill packs, drift eliminators, stacked here on beams above the water distribution nozzles, were also replaced. Courtesy: David Joel Pho- tography sales.us@vanbeest.com www.vanbeest.com Member of Van Beest International Van Beest B.V. is manufacturer and supplier of wire rope- and chain accessories with branches in The Netherlands, Germany, France and The USA. We offer reliable and fast deliveries in North America directly from our warehouse in Houston, Texas. Van Beest USA has the largest stock of quality lifting equipment in the area. Van Beest your reliable partner STOCK IN THE STOCK IN THE CIRCLE 11 ON READER SERVICE CARD
  22. 22. www.powermag.com POWER |November 201520 cess situations, and working within the time constraints of a refueling shutdown demands speed. Systems Scaffold excels in this type of environment because of its adaptability,” noted Jim Waichunas, Saf- way Tracking System coordinator for Saf- way’s Eastern Division and SPX’s liaison for the project. To monitor every aspect of the Exelon project, Waichunas used the Safway Track- ing System, a proprietary software pro- gram that manages all of the resources for a project. “The Safway Tracking System provides a clear picture of costs and bottlenecks and helps us to stay on top of other key performance indicators in real time,” said Waichunas. Planning Leads to Success With an outage of three weeks, Safway wanted to give SPX workers as much time as possible to perform their task. The plan involved building four sections of scaffold that would start on the outer ring of the tower and work toward the inside of the parabolic curve. When completed, each section of scaffold would measure about 21 feet wide, 90 feet long, and 45 feet high so the SPX crew could reach the drift eliminators. After the SPX crew finished work on one section, the Safway team would dismantle the scaffold and move it laterally to reach a new area (picture clock hands sweeping around the dial). “The eight-and-a-half-feet of water in the cold water basin and the constant ‘rainstorm’ inside the parabolic curve pre- sented the biggest challenges to sched- uling,” said Waichunas. “Exelon couldn’t drain the basin or stop the cooling water spray until the outage began.” Two weeks prior to the scheduled out- age, Exelon brought in divers. Directed by the Safway team, the divers erected the Systems Scaffold base (standard screw jacks and wood blocking) and one level of scaffolding underwater. “It required good planning because there was a pretty strong current moving through the water,” Waichunas recalled. With the base in place, the Safway crew erected as much scaffold as they could in the outer ring of the cooling tower, work- ing up to the edge of the rainstorm. Once the reactor outage began, the Safway team quickly built the scaffold up to full height and the SPX personnel took over. Krehbiel said SPX and Safway had worked out a “Plan B” to allow work in wet areas with a partial shutdown of the spray system if the job went longer than three weeks. As it turned out, they didn’t need it. With demonstrated success, the Safway and SPX teams completed work on the second tower about six months later using a similar schedule. In both cases the SPX team accom- plished its mission in the allotted three weeks with no major incidents (Figure 5). Once the maintenance was complete, the Safway crew finished removing the scaf- folding—about a two-week job. “The take-down was actually done in phases, because our crew dismantled sections of scaffolding where the re- placement of materials was finished,” Waichunas, said. “Systems Scaffold is also simple to take down, which makes things more efficient.” ■ —Edited by Aaron Larson, a POWER associate editor. 4. Versatile construction. Post rings on Safway’s Systems Scaffold allow quick assem- bly and offer a variety of orientation options to meet diverse project needs. Courtesy: David Joel Photography 5. Finishing touches.The final drift eliminators are placed into position. Drift eliminators are the last component that air and water vapor pass across before rising through the shell and out the top of the tower. Courtesy: David Joel Photography
  24. 24. www.powermag.com POWER |November 201522 FERC’s Enforcement Priorities After 10 Years Under the EPAct Carlos E. Gutierrez O n August 8, 2005, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) was signed into law. It remains, arguably, the last signifi- cant piece of energy legislation to be enacted in the U.S. The changes wrought by EPAct are far-reaching and controver- sial, and for the gas and electric industry, perhaps no change has been more significant than the law’s transformation of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) into a formidable enforcement agency. EPAct endowed FERC with authority to impose civil penalties of up to $1 million, per day, per violation under the Federal Power Act (FPA), the Natural Gas Act, and the Natural Gas Policy Act, and FERC has aggressively staked out its enforcement territory. Since 2007, the Commission has imposed over $642 million in civil penalties and ordered disgorgement of more than $300 mil- lion in profits. Two areas attracting a significant amount of FERC’s attention over the past decade include market manipulation and protection of the electric grid from cyberattacks. Market Manipulation In July 2013, FERC entered into a consent agreement requiring JP Morgan to pay a $285 million civil penalty and disgorge $125 million in profits for allegedly making bids in the electric mar- kets administered by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator that were designed to create artificial conditions that forced those ISOs to pay JP Morgan outside the market at premium rates. In the Hunter case in 2013, FERC had a civil penalty for alleged market manipulation rejected by the D.C. Circuit for encroaching on futures markets found to be subject to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s exclusive jurisdiction. In four other cases, FERC’s role as the adjudicator of market manipulation is under assault as the defendants have elected to force FERC to file suit in federal district court, where there is to be de novo review under FPA Section 31(d)(3). These cases include challenges to: ■ A July 2013 order in which FERC required Barclays to pay $435 million in civil penalties and $34.9 million in disgorged profits for allegedly engaging in certain physical market trades for the sole purpose of benefitting its financial swap positions. ■ An August 2013 order in which FERC required Competitive En- ergy Services to pay a civil penalty of $7.5 million for alleg- edly devising and implementing a fraudulent scheme whereby one of its demand response service provider clients inflated its baseline energy usage in order to capture demand-response revenues from artificial load reductions. ■ A May 2015 order in which FERC imposed civil penalties of $30 million on Powhatan Energy Fund and others for allegedly placing round-trip up-to-congestion bids in order to profit from the distribution of transmission line–loss credits. ■ A May 2015 order in which FERC required Maxim Power Corp. to pay a civil penalty of $5 million for allegedly falsely reporting to ISO New England that it was burning oil rather than cheaper natural gas and thereby collecting inflated make-whole pay- ments from the ISO. In each of these cases, FERC is taking the position that the de novo review provided for under FPA Section 31(d)(3) means simply that the court should decide the case based on the re- cord that was before FERC without according any deference to FERC’s decision, while the defendants are generally claiming that de novo review means that the case is to be re-adjudicated at the district court level with full rights to discovery and to introduce evidence. If the courts adopt Barclays’ interpretation of what de novo review means in this context, this could prove to be an effective avenue to rein in FERC’s aggressive enforce- ment tactics. Cybersecurity FERC has made “serious violations” of North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) standards a major enforcement priority. FERC and the electric industry have given considerable atten- tion to the development and refinement of Critical Infrastructure Protection reliability standards (CIP Standards) that are intended to protect the electric grid from cyberattacks. Frequent changes to CIP Standards reflect an effort to keep up with the increas- ingly innovative ways that hackers can exploit a vulnerable bulk electric system and inflict substantial damage on the American economy. In the last two years alone, FERC has conditionally accepted Version 5 of the CIP Standards and then conditionally accepted seven modified Version 6 standards. In its most recent proposed rulemaking regarding CIP Standards, FERC has further directed NERC to develop a new (or modified) CIP Standard that will ad- dress supply chain vulnerability to targeted malware and inevita- bly introduce new Version 7 standards. This proposal marks only the third time FERC has used its EPAct authority to require NERC to propose a new standard, highlighting the careful attention FERC has devoted to cybersecurity threats. This concern with cy- bersecurity may be well placed, as a recent report by Lloyd’s and the University of Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies estimates that a large-scale cyberattack on the U.S. grid could cost the economy over $100 billion. FERC seems to relish its role as an enforcement force in the electric industry under EPAct. It remains to be seen, though, whether its authority will be curtailed by the courts or whether an industry burdened with high compliance costs and exposure will push back enough to spawn the next major piece of energy legislation in the U.S. ■ —Carlos E. Gutierrez (carlosgutierrez@dwt.com) is counsel in Davis Wright Tremaine’s Energy practice group in the firm’s New York, N.Y., office.
  26. 26. www.powermag.com POWER |November 201524 TOP PLANTS Central Nuclear Néstor Kirchner (Atucha II), Lima, Argentina Owner/operator: Nucleoeléctrica Argentina S.A. A s with many other nations in the de- veloping world, Argentina has seen the course of its nuclear power pro- gram rise and fall with the country’s eco- nomic and political fortunes. Argentina first turned to nuclear power in the 1960s, and the country’s first nuclear reactor, Atucha I, entered commercial operation in 1974 at a site near Lima on the banks of the Parana River about 100 kilometers (km) northwest of Buenos Aires. Atucha I is a 357-MW pressurized heavy- water reactor (PHWR) built by German firm Kraftwerk Union (KWU), which at the time was a joint venture composed of the nuclear business units of Siemens and AEG. In the 1970s, the military government decided to bring four more nuclear reactors online be- tween 1987 and 1997. Siemens, which had by then bought out AEG’s shares in KWU, submitted a design for a second, 745-MW PHWR at the Atucha site. As originally intended, Atucha II was to be built by a joint venture between KWU and the Argentine Atomic Energy Commission (Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica, CNEA), using a Siemens-KWU design that was essentially a larger version of Atucha I. Intermittent Progress Construction began in 1981, but ongoing weaknesses in the Argentine economy meant that funds for the project were limited. Fol- lowing the overthrow of the military govern- ment and the return to democratic elections in 1983, construction slowed even further as national attention was pulled away by more pressing issues. Between 1983 and 1994, the project pro- ceeded in fits and starts as funds became available. Construction on some of the main buildings advanced, and materials were stockpiled on site. Though more significant progress was made between 1991 and 1994 as more funds were allocated, the project was finally halted in 1994 with the plant about 81% complete. The main buildings had been erected, but very little electrome- chanical work had been completed. In 1994, a new entity, Nucleoeléctrica Ar- gentina (NA), was set up to take over nuclear development from CNEA. But ongoing chal- lenges in the national economy meant there were insufficient resources to complete Atu- cha II at the time. In the intervening years, the site lay idle as the workforce dispersed and the local construction and engineering expertise that would be necessary to complete the plant waned. Siemens finally withdrew from the project in 2000. Meanwhile, a skeleton staff of about 150 worked to preserve 40,000 tons of materials—comprising 85,000 separate items—that were stored at the site and other locations. During the late 1990s, Argentina’s econ- omy continued to contract as a result of in- ternal and external factors, culminating in an economic crisis that began in 1998 and reached its worst in late 2001, when the gov- ernment defaulted on its public debt and riots wracked major cities for weeks. Not until the election of Néstor Kirchner in 2003 and major changes in economic policies were en- acted did the nation begin to recover. Begun with grand ambitions in the early 1980s, the second unit at Argentina’s Atu- cha site ran smack into the country’s economic crises in the following decade. But a determined crew brought the project to completion after a 13-year hiatus through a focus on rebuilding the nation’s nuclear labor force. Thomas W. Overton, JD Courtesy: Nucleoeléctrica Argentina S.A.
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  28. 28. TOP PLANTS www.powermag.com POWER |November 201526 Back in Business By 2006, Argentina was finally back on its feet and experiencing economic growth. That August, the government announced a $3.5 billion plan to revitalize the country’s nuclear sector, which included $600 million for completing Atucha II. Argentina’s desire to increase the share of nuclear in the power mix and reduce dependence on imported fos- sil fuels—especially natural gas—lay behind the decision. But restarting the project after more than a decade was a significant challenge for a va- riety of reasons. NA, which would serve as the architect-engineer and design authority, needed to close out the original contract with Siemens-KWU and obtain the intellectual property rights for the design in order to fin- ish the work. More significantly, it needed to rebuild the local workforce. NA formed cooperative agreements with Argentine companies and institutions as well as foreign organizations such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, Sie- mens, and AREVA. To staff the project, available personnel who had worked on the plant originally were called back, and new engineers, technicians, and construction workers were recruited and trained along- side the veterans. Construction resumed in November 2006. Because so many new workers with so many different skills needed to be brought in, a special committee was formed to iden- tify all specific labor needs and determine how they would be filled. In addition, con- struction tasks were broken down into four levels of expertise—from construction of the pressure vessel and primary piping, re- quiring the highest qualifications, down to basic construction tasks—to ensure labor resources were allocated most efficiently. NA worked directly with the local unions and contractors to structure the construction contracts and develop a suffi- ciently flexible process to support on-the- job training. Among other achievements, more than 1,400 new welders were trained and qualified as part of the project. Per- sonnel on site rose from a few hundred to more than 5,000 within two years, peaking at nearly 7,500 in 2010. Another challenge was refurbishing the partially finished plant so that construc- tion could resume safely and effectively. The communications and data processing networks had to be updated to support new standards (Figure 1). Temporary power, wa- ter, security, and sewage systems, as well as other temporary facilities that had lain idle for more than a decade, had to be cleaned up, reconditioned, and integrated with new facilities to support construction. Electromechanical construction re- sumed in mid-2007. The heavy-water de- sign required 600 metric tons of heavy water, which was produced at the coun- try’s indigenous heavy water production plant in Arroyito. Production of heavy wa- ter was completed in June 2012. Primary system pressure testing was conducted in early 2013, and fuel and heavy water were loaded into the reactor later that year. First criticality was achieved in June 2014, and 100% power was achieved for the first time that November. Ultimately, more than 43 million construc- tion man-hours, of which 99% were local, would be expended in completing the plant. Native Expertise Atucha II, now named for former president Kirchner, was declared commercially opera- tional by his widow, current President Cris- tina Fernández de Kirchner on February 19, 2015. In opening the plant, she hailed the work done by Argentine firms and labor in completing the project. “To those who some days ago were doubt- ful of the agreements we went to sign in order to make our economy grow and attract new investments, I want to say that all the work for this nuclear plant was done by Argentine people, Argentine brains, Argentine labour, because, you know something? We, the Ar- gentine people have begun once again to go down a path that we had abandoned,” Kirch- ner said. “In the nineties, Argentina—partly, it is fair to say, because of external pressure— abandoned its role as the most important nuclear actor in Latin America. Today, we are reclaiming that role by fully opening this plant.” The success in completing Atucha II has indeed given renewed momentum to Argen- tina’s nuclear sector. Two more units are planned at the site, with construction tentatively slated to begin in 2016 and 2017. The country has signed co- operation agreements with Russia and China for future nuclear development, including possible reactor construction. Finally, Argentina is arguably furthest along with small modular reactor develop- ment, with its 25-MW CAREM design— nearing completion at the Atucha site and set to begin testing next year. (For more on CA- REM, see “Small Modular Reactors Speak- ing in Foreign Tongues” in the January 2015 issue.) ■ —Thomas W. Overton, JD is a POWER associate editor. POWER POINTS Winning Attributes Restarted and completed the project after repeated economic challenges forced a decade-long interruption Rebuilt the national nuclear labor force by training thousands of new engineers, technicians, and construction workers 1. Upgraded.When the Atucha II project was restarted in 2006, one key task was updating the unfinished instrumentation and controls systems to modern standards. Courtesy: Nucle- oeléctrica Argentina S.A.
  29. 29. 12 nuscalepower.com NuScale Power © 2015 NuScale Power, LLC. All Rights Reserved. NuScale Power has created a new kind of nuclear power plant: one that is safe, reliable, and economical. The innovative design incorporates all of the components for steam generation and heat exchange into a single integrated unit, the NuScale Power Module™ (NPM). Using up to 12 of these 50MWe (gross) NPMs, a NuScale nuclear power plant can provide 600 MWe (gross) of safe, carbon-free, electrical generation. The compact design of the NPM allows it to be built and assembled in a U.S. factory, then shipped to a prepared site for easy deployment. The design eliminates many costly, complex systems while cutting-edge manufacturing cuts time and cost of production. The result: a power source that is simultaneously safe, reliable, scalable, carbon-free, and economical. Innovation: the Element of Nu™. CIRCLE 15 ON READER SERVICE CARD
  30. 30. www.powermag.com POWER |November 201528 TOP PLANTS Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, Wintersburg, Arizona P alo Verde Nuclear Generating Station (Palo Verde), located on 4,000 acres deep in the Arizona desert about 50 miles west of Phoenix, serves the electricity needs of approximately four million people in Arizona (about 35% of its power needs), Southern California, New Mexico, and far west Texas. The plant, which began construc- tion in 1976 and was completed in 1988 at a cost of $5.9 billion, features three units with—unlike most nuclear plants—very lit- tle common infrastructure between the units. Palo Verde has long been the largest U.S. nuclear power plant as measured by power generation. Steam is produced by Combustion Engi- neering System 80 pressurized water reactors in a 2 x 4 configuration—four main reactor cooling pumps circulate 111,000 gpm of pri- mary coolant through two steam generators. The reactors were originally licensed to oper- ate in 1985, 1986, and 1987, and each was initially rated at 3,990 MWt. The General Electric generators remain the largest 60 Hz generators in worldwide service at a nuclear power plant. Since 2005, the U.S. Nuclear Regula- tory Commission (NRC) has approved in- creases in the net generating capacity of each unit to 1,311, 1,314, and 1,312 MW, respectively, as a result of plant upgrades. Operating license extensions for each of the three units were approved in 2011, ex- tending plant operation until 2045, 2046, and 2047, respectively. “Our mission is to safely and efficiently generate electricity for the long term,” said Randy Edington, executive vice president and chief nuclear officer for Arizona Public Service Co. (APS), which operates the plant for the group of owners (listed at the top). “We have worked very hard to demonstrate to the NRC through extensive inspections and audits that Palo Verde is prepared to operate for an additional 20 years.” The plant employs about 3,000 workers and has an annual economic impact of more than $1.8 billion in Arizona, according to APS. Rising Capacity Factors Nuclear power plant capacity factors are ris- ing across the industry. The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) reported that the average ca- pacity factor of all U.S. nuclear power plants in June was 96.4%, the highest that it has been in six years (it was 91.7% in 2014). In fact, 90 of the 99 operating nuclear reactors averaged 90% or higher, and 62 operated at 100% or higher in June. According to Platts’ Megawatt Daily June 22 report, in 2014, Palo Verde Unit 3 generated more electricity than any single unit in the U.S., producing 12.2 million MWh, exceeded only by EDF’s 1,560-MW Chooz-B2 reactor in France for worldwide honors. However, Palo Verde’s 1,312-MW Unit 3 posted a higher annual capacity factor of 97.5%, compared to 94.1% at Chooz-B2. Palo Verde Unit 3 continued the plant’s history of outstanding operations by du- plicating Unit 2’s achievement the year before. In 2013, Unit 2 reported a 94.8% capacity factor, the highest of all plants in the world top 10 rankings, while Unit 1 was ranked third in the U.S. and seventh in the world. Generating large amounts of electricity has been in the plant’s DNA since it began operation. All three Palo Verde units are individually ranked among the top six pro- ducers in the U.S., according to industry data. “We take pride in regularly generat- The nearly 4-GW, three-unit PaloVerde Nuclear Generating Station remains the larg- est generator of electricity in the U.S. for the 23rd consecutive year, producing more than 30 million MWh in 2014, for the 10th time (the only plant in the U.S. to do so), all while using only treated wastewater for cooling. Dr. Robert Peltier, PE Courtesy: Arizona Public Service Owners/operator: Arizona Public Service Co. (APS, 29.1%), Salt River Project (17.5%), Southern California Edison Co. (15.8%), El Paso Electric Co. (15.8%), PNM Resources (10.2%), Southern California Public Power Authority (5.9%), and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (5.7%) / APS
  31. 31. www.structint.com ENGINEERING STRENGTH Scan the QR Code for more information www.structint.com/power ( 8 7 7 - 4 S I - P O W E R ) 8 7 7 - 4 7 4 - 7 6 9 3 Structural Integrity’s engineering strength comes in many forms -- from our team of over 200 engineering and technical experts, to applying our knowledge at many power plants and pipelines in the industry, to 30+ years of experience serving our clients. You can also look to us in the following areas for our ability to link theory and practice: • Knowledge of power plants, codes, and how things work. • High quality, hard work, and responsiveness. • Custom, integrated equipment, software and solutions. Call us today to put our engineering strength to the test. www.structint.com CIRCLE 16 ON READER SERVICE CARD
  32. 32. TOP PLANTS www.powermag.com POWER |November 201530 ing more electricity than any other power plant in the country, ensuring that people across Arizona and the Southwest can con- tinue to enjoy reliable, low-cost electric- ity,” said Edington. For Palo Verde, 2014 was its 23rd con- secutive year as the largest power generator in the U.S., producing 32.3 million MWh and breaking its own record of 31.9 mil- lion MWh set in 2012. Palo Verde is the only generating station of any technology to produce 30 million MWh in a single year, an achievement that it accomplished in 2014 for the 10th time, and in six of the past 10 years. More Records The Palo Verde staff is also well-practiced in the art and science of conducting short refueling outages and can turn around a unit in record time. In the spring of 2013, the staff completed its first sub-30 day refuel- ing outage in plant history with a plant re- cord-setting 29 days, 18 hours for Unit 1. In spring 2014, the staff bettered that record by refueling Unit 2 in 28 days, 22 hours. “This refueling outage is another example of the world-class performance we have come to expect from Palo Verde, where safety re- mains our highest priority,” Edington said. At Palo Verde, the units are on an 18-month refueling cycle, with two refuelings sched- uled each year—one in the spring and an- other in the fall. In aggregate, the three units have been running very well. From April 28 until Oct. 5, 2013, a period of 160 days, all three units operated, the second-longest continu- ous run in plant history. The long run ended when Unit 3 was brought offline in order to begin a planned refueling and maintenance outage, although Units 1 and 2 continued to operate at 100%. During 2012, Unit 2 recorded the best performance in plant his- tory with 518 consecutive days of opera- tion, ending Oct. 5, 2012. Each of the three units has a recent continuous run exceeding 500 days. Using RecycledWater Palo Verde is the only U.S. nuclear power plant that is not located next to an ocean or other large body of water. It instead sits in the middle of Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. Palo Verde was the first nuclear power plant in the world and remains the largest in the U.S. to use recycled municipal wastewater for con- denser and other plant cooling needs (Figure 1). APS concluded a landmark 40-year agreement in 2010 with the five cities in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area to provide an annual allotment of up to 26 billion gallons of treated municipal efflu- ent to Palo Verde through 2050. The ter- tiary treated effluent originates from the 91st Avenue Wastewater Treatment plant in west Phoenix and is piped to Palo Verde, where it is further treated to meet the water quality standards established by the plant. The agreement was negotiated over sev- eral years and replaces the original water pact signed in 1973. Water deliveries un- der terms of that agreement began in 1982, when Unit 1 began operations, and was scheduled to expire in 2027. “Palo Verde provides substantial environmental ben- efits since it does not emit any greenhouse gases and because it makes the most effi- cient use of our limited water resources,” said Edington. The pact also solves a prob- lem faced by many municipalities—how to dispose of a potentially valuable byproduct that increases as the population grows. Grey water effluent provided to Palo Verde is produced in three steps: solids removal, primary treatment to remove any remain- ing solids, and then secondary treatment in which biological or percolating filters break down organic material and purify the liquid. The treated effluent flows 28 miles downhill and then is pumped another 8 miles to the plant site, where it enters the Palo Verde Wa- ter Reclamation Facility. There the effluent is further treated before it is stored in a 760 million-gallon lined reservoir that covers 80 surface acres. The closed loop condenser/cooling tower circuit uses water from this reservoir for plant cooling. Three mechanical forced-draft cooling towers are used for condenser cool- ing, one for each unit. The towers operate at 25 cycles of concentration, which produces a blowdown stream whose salinity approaches that of seawater. Once this concentration is reached, the water is discharged to evapora- tion ponds. Because of the corrosive nature of the effluent, the three-pressure, three-shell surface condensers were originally upgraded to titanium and the tube sheets are fabricated out of aluminum bronze with mechanically expanded tube joints. Mechanical scrapers are used to keep the tubes clean. The Marley condensers continue to provide reliable ser- vice using tertiary treatment grey water after almost 30 years of service. ■ —Dr. Robert Peltier, PE is POWER’s consulting editor. 1. Water reuse.The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station uses 100% recycled municipal wastewater from Phoenix and surrounding cities for condenser cooling. Shown are aeration ponds that are part of the plant’s water reclamation and treatment facility. Courtesy: Arizona Public Service POWER POINTS Winning Attributes Only nuclear power plant in the world to generate more than 30 million MWh in a year, and held that record in 2014 for the 10th time Uses only treated wastewater for all plant cooling, thereby saving precious resources in its desert surroundings Refueling outages consistently require fewer than 30 days
  33. 33. 26461 Monday, December 7 • 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. • Mirage Las Vegas powermagconference.com Hosted by the editors of POWER magazine Navigating Legal Implications of Power Industry Regulations PRESENTS 7:30-9:15 Continental breakfast and opening keynote Avi S. Garbow, General Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 9:15-10:30 The Compliance Context: Regulations & Environmental Groups 10:45-12:00 The Clean Power Plan: Uncertain Future, Certain Pain 12:00-1:00 Lunch and keynote Robert Meyers, Senior Counsel, Crowell & Moring; former head of the Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 1:30-3:30 Surviving the Environmental Compliance Minefield: CCR, ELG, Ozone, 316(b), MATS 2.0, & More 3:45-5:00 Networking reception If you are involved in power plants’ financial, legal, or operational decisions about compliance with environmental regulations, this is a conference for YOU. Pre-register online at powermagconference.com. YOU’RE INVITED CONFERENCE AGENDA Among the notable speakers, you’ll hear from: » Counsel for one of the parties in Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court case that opened the door to greenhouse gas regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency » The former EPA attorney who oversaw the agency’s response to the court’s ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA » Experts in everything from permitting to emissions trading » Plus—the current EPA General Counsel These experts have represented industry, regulatory bodies, and citizen groups and are prepared to share their insights on the current bundle of regulatory concerns. You won’t find more energy and environmental legal firepower in one place anywhere else!
  34. 34. www.powermag.com POWER |November 201532 OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE Wildlife and Power Plants: New Solutions for Animal Problems Some critters may be cute, but when jellyfish gum up power plant cooling sys- tems; birds, rats, snakes, or squirrels cause electrical shorts; or invasive mol- lusk species obstruct hydropower plant pipes, losses can be steep. Here’s how some power plant operators are dealing with their critter troubles. Aaron Larson and Sonal Patel T here are countless cases of wildlife entering power plant areas where they don’t belong. Unlike trained workers, the animals can’t read warning signs and often end up learning the hard way about the danger lurking in high- voltage systems. The result isn’t just bad for the critter; it can be bad for the plant, resulting in equipment damage and un- planned outage time. Not every power plant must deal with the exact same pests. Pigeons, mice, rats, and raccoons are fairly common throughout North America, but other parts of the world have other vermin. Snakes—some of which are very dangerous—pose problems for some plants, and even insects, such as termites and carpenter ants, can cause significant damage not just to buildings, but also inside panels and equipment. It used to be that jellyfish and mollusks were found mainly at plants utilizing ocean water for cooling, but now freshwater species have spread to many areas throughout the U.S. Keeping Unwanted Guests Out Damage caused to electrical equipment as the result of animal intrusion can cost a lot to repair, not to mention the cost associated with lost production. Karl Mosbacher, busi- ness development manager for Roxtec Inc.’s U.S. Power group, recalled one instance where a squirrel caused $300,000 worth of damage when it triggered a power surge that affected an Indiana community center’s heating and air conditioning system and some parts of its boiler system. Rats and mice are also regular troublemakers due to their propensity for gnawing on cable and wire insulation. In order to prevent such damage, it is impor- tant to seal building and equipment penetra- tions to keep pests out. Mosbacher said some materials, such as metal and concrete, are less susceptible to infestation than others, but over time, deterioration, inadequate alterations, and poorly completed repairs can create openings, allowing infiltration of unwanted pests. A good understanding of pest behavior and vulnerable areas is important. Mos- bacher noted that some products and materi- als commonly used to seal openings, such as neoprene and spray-in foam, are not rodent- proof. On the other hand, he said Roxtec’s uniquely designed sealing solutions are ca- pable of preventing a wide variety of pests from entering facilities. According to Mosbacher, the Roxtec seals (Figure 1) not only protect against rodents and pests, but also against water, gas, fire, dust, electromagnetic interference, and ex- plosion. They are adaptable to cables of dif- ferent sizes, which simplifies maintenance and upgrades. Animals and power plant substations don’t mix particularly well either. Raccoons, squirrels, and even snakes can end up in ar- eas where they shouldn’t be, triggering bad outcomes for the utility, as well as for the animal (Figure 2). In some cases, the result is a simple conductor failure, but a strong flash- over can result in shattered bushings or even complete transformer meltdowns. TE Connectivity is another company that has developed a wide range of covers, iso- lators, and insulation products designed to protect systems from animals. The solutions include bushing covers (Figure 3), conduc- tor covers, squirrel guards (Figure 4), bus 1. Sealing out trouble. These seals, installed at a facility in Mexico, prevent rodents, water, and other hazards from entering buildings through cable and pipe penetrations. Courtesy: Roxtec Inc.
  35. 35. November 2015 |POWER www.powermag.com 33 OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE support covers, raptor covers, and heat- shrink tubes and tapes. The company esti- mates that the overall risk factor can be cut as much as 80% by incorporating its mitiga- tion products. Feathered Friends? Pigeons are a fairly common pest at power plants. They may seem like more of a nui- sance, but these birds are not as innocent as they may appear. It’s no secret that harbor- ing a flock of pigeons will create a house- keeping problem, but Erick Wolf, CEO of Innolytics LLC, believes that pigeons are also a safety risk. Bird feces can create slip and fall hazards on concrete walkways and steel deck grating. In addition, the birds can spook personnel who may not be expecting them when transit- ing through areas where the birds have taken refuge. The surprise could result in a fall or the ill-advised placement of a hand on a piece of equipment. There are also some health risks. Accord- ing to NewYork City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene—which sees its fair share of pigeon problems—three human dis- eases are known to be associated with pigeon droppings: histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, and psittacosis. People with compromised immune systems are most at risk from expo- sure to droppings, but anyone cleaning up af- ter pigeons should wear protective clothing, such as disposable coveralls, boots, gloves, and respirators. Netting, bird spikes, electrical track or wire systems, flight diverters, guards, and au- dio and visual repellents are available for bird control through a variety of companies such as Bird B Gone, Bird-X, and BirdBusters. Jack Wagner, president of BirdBusters, said that there are more than 80 of his company’s Bird Wailers installed in electrical substa- tions throughout Alberta alone. The units incorporate up to 34 natural sounds, such as target bird alarm and distress calls, together with the calls of predators like hawks, owls, and others indigenous to the area. In Alberta, a master unit and two speakers at each site have been effective in controlling ravens for more than 15 years. Birth Control When it comes to pigeons, Wolf said it is very hard to completely rid a site of the birds. He suggested that the cost to do so is usually a limiting factor. “The closer you get to zero, the more it costs,” Wolf said. “Cost is one thing, but na- ture abhors a vacuum, so driving things to zero is not necessarily a good thing.” In other words, once you eliminate a flock, the site may remain free of pigeons for a pe- riod of time, but eventually a new flock will move in. Wolf said the birds are in search of three things: food/water, harborage, and warmth. Power plants are a prime location for at least two of those items. In addition to the options offered by BirdBusters and others, Innolytics created a product called OvoControl for gaining con- trol of a plant’s pigeon population. For lack of a better term, OvoControl is birth control for pigeons. Pigeons are sexually mature at six months of age. The birds have two eggs per clutch and up to six clutches per year, so it is a rapidly reproducing species. Pigeons typically only live for two to three years, however, so the use of contraceptive tech- nology is an effective control measure, ac- 2. Raccoons can’t read warning signs.This little critter crossed some wires that it shouldn’t have. Courtesy: TE Connectivity 3. You’re covered. Bushing and conductor covers can prevent animals and others from touching things they shouldn’t. Courtesy: TE Connectivity