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Vol. 157 No.

6 June 2013

ARCTIC Chills Turbine Power Loss

Fast-Start HRSGs New Build or Repower? Troubleshooting Control Loops Developing Skilled Craft Workers

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Established 1882 Vol. 157 No. 6

June 2013

As summer temperatures and system peak demand rise, combustion turbine power drops. The only way to recover that lost power is to cool the incoming air. Energy Concepts Co.s Absorption Refrigeration Cycle Turbine Inlet Conditioning (ARCTIC) system chills incoming air using waste heat from the turbine as the absorption chillers energy source, instead of the conventional use of electric motors driving centrifugal chillers. The first utility-scale ARCTIC system, installed on an LM6000 combustion turbine in Texas, has performed exceptionally well during its first three years of operation. Courtesy: Energy Concepts Co.


24 Improving Warm Weather Performance of the LM6000
Summers here, and that means combustion turbine heat rates are taking a hit exactly when electricity demand spikes. A new option for providing inlet air chilling uses exhaust heat to power the air-conditioning system while incurring no heat rate degradation. A case study demonstrates how the small cost premium is offset by improved performance, efficiency, and maintenance requirements.


28 Fast-Start HRSG Life-Cycle Optimization

Foster Wheeler offers an approach for determining the effect of more frequent and faster starts at natural gas combined cycle plants on heat recovery steam generators. The goal: enable fast starts while maintaining acceptable component cycle life.


36 Repower or Build a New Combined Cycle Unit?

Thats a question many power generators are asking these days. URS shares the results of an engineering study it recently conducted for a Midwestern utility facing that choice. The case study and methodology could help others in the same situation.


42 Troubleshooting and Solving Poor Control Loop Performance

Incorrectly tuned control loops can respond sluggishly, or they can overshoot and oscillate significantly. Controller tuning is often done by trial-and-error, but there are better ways.


Connect with POWER

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Power in Australia
Australias New Energy Paradigm, a sponsored report from Global Business Reports, examines the tension between environmental concerns and energy costs in Australias power sector. (After p. 48.)

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June 2013 POWER



52 Expect U.S. Electricity Consumption to Increase

Lawrence J. Makovich, PhD, IHS CERAs vice president and senior advisor for Global Power, discusses demand growth predictions, the competitive electricity market, and renewable power generation.


56 New England Struggles with Gas Supply Bottlenecks

Old, inefficient oil and coal plants in New England have been retired and replaced with natural gasfired combined cycle plants. Consequently, emissions and electricity costs are lower. But now the region faces new problems.


60 What Is the Worth of 1 Btu/kWh of Heat Rate?

Designing a new combined cycle plant means selecting from myriad optionsusually based on the criterion of cost of electricity produced. This screening tool allows you to quickly sort through many design options to find the cost-effective solution.


64 Scarce Projects Raise Red Flag for Skilled Labor

A sluggish economy and coal plant closures have been masking the severity of a looming shortage of craft labor needed for scheduled and unscheduled outages. Whats more, the power industry is competing for those workers with the booming oil and gas industry.


6 Opinions la Carte

8 8 10 12 14 16

Ontario Completes New Niagara Tunnel to Increase Output from Hydro Complex OTEC Gets Boost with Possibility of 10-MW Plant in China U.S. EGS Project Adds 1.7 MW Grid-Connected Output THE BIG PICTURE: Power Accident Impacts Ningde 1 Is Latest Chinese Reactor to Start Commercial Operation POWER Digest

18 LADWP Harnesses LMS100 to Solve Once-Through Cooling Dilemma


22 Renewable Energy Policy Review Required

By Steven F . Greenwald and Jeffrey P . Gray, Davis Wright Tremaine




72 EPA to Limit Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction Defense

By Karl A. Karg, Latham & Watkins LLP

Get More POWER on the Web

Online, associated with this issue (on our homepage,, during the month of June, or in our Archives any time), youll find the final installment of Too Dumb to Meter: Follies, Fiascoes, Dead Ends, and Duds on the U.S. Road to Atomic Energy. And remember to check our Whats New? segment on the homepage regularly for just-posted news stories covering all fuels and technologies.

POWER June 2013

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Editor-in-Chief: Dr. Robert Peltier, PE 480-820-7855, Managing Editor: Dr. Gail Reitenbach Executive Editor: David Wagman Gas Technology Editor: Thomas Overton, JD Senior Writer: Sonal Patel European Reporter: Charles Butcher Contributing Editors: Mark Axford; David Daniels; Steven F . Greenwald; Jeffrey P . Gray; Jim Hylko; Kennedy Maize; Dick Storm Graphic Designer: Joanne Moran Production Manager: Tony Campana, Marketing Manager: Jennifer Brady

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Opinions la Carte
ave you ever experienced a restaurant menu overflowing with so many tasty entres that making your selection seemed an impossible decision? Your deliberation probably ended when the waiter began tapping a pen on his order pad and your dinner-mates gave you the evil eye. Picking a commentary topic each month is much like scanning the dinner menu. There are usually many topics that deserve a good slice and dice, but its the deadline that forces a decision. I decided to try something different this month. Instead serving up a one-course meal, were having smorgasbord. There are enough opinions here to either satiate your appetite or give you heartburn. I trust youll find the servings to your liking. Bon apptit! Unexpected Candor. In a mid-April report, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that tighter leakage control on natural gas wells resulted in an average annual decrease of 41.6 million metric tons of methane emissions from 1990 through 2010, or 850 million metric tons overall. That is a reduction of 20% from the agencys earlier estimates. These reductions occurred while natural gas production grew by 40% since 1990. This isnt surprising, because well producers are aware that losing product to the atmosphere isnt good business. The new EPA data is kind of an earthquake in the debate over drilling, said Michael Shellenberger, president of the Breakthrough Institute, an environmental advocacy group. Expect the leakage rates to continue to drop in the future, frustrating fracking foes. Shale Gas Reserves Estimates Increased, Again. The April 9 biennial assessment report from the Potential Gas Committee on future U.S. natural gas resources shows that the gas boom should continue for quite some time. The committees future gas supply estimate rose 22.1% over its 2010 estimate to 2,688 trillion cubic feet. To put that number into perspective, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects natural gas usage for 2013 and 2014 to average 70.2 Bcf/d

for all uses. That translates into about 100 years of supply at todays usage rate. Expect reserve estimates to continue to rise faster than usage growth. The bridge fuel is now the fuel express lane. Solar Boom Then Bust. MidAmerican Solar and SunPower began construction, in late April, of their 579-MW Antelope Valley Solar photovoltaic project, located in Kern and Los Angeles counties. The project, when completed at the end of 2015, will sell power to Southern California Edison under long-term purchase contracts. At a March Solar Summit hosted by Burns & McDonnell, representatives of the three major California utilities agreed that the number of these large projects is limited because the number of future sites this large are limited, current contracts have lower purchase prices, onetime federal government loan guarantees have expired, the solar investment tax credit ends in 2016, and California utility solar project contract goals are oversubscribed. Once the few large projects in Californias queue are digested, expect to see the market focus on smaller projects (<50 MW). Pass the Nuclear Buck. Congress has been unable to unscramble the failed Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA) and its 1987 Amendments in which Yucca Mountain was specified as the nations single repository for spent nuclear fuel. Nuclear plant owners have since put about $35 billion into a fund created to pay for the Department of Energys (DOE) development of a storage site ($12 billion was spent on Yucca Mountain). The legal deadline for completing Yucca Mountain was 1998. Failing to meet that deadline, the DOE has since doled out about $1.2 billion in damages to utilities, with dozens of lawsuits and claims pending. Utilities, justifiably, want their money back. The congressional response: Legislation to form a new Nuclear Waste Administration, located outside the DOE, was introduced in the Senate in late April. Dont add another bureaucracy; fix the NWPA and its amendments that caused the problems in the first place.

Carbon Appealed, Again. Southeastern Legal Foundation on April 19 filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the Obama Administrations EPA regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. The petition names its sponsors as 12 members of Congress and 15 companies and associations. The writ of certiorari is a legal request for the Supreme Court to review a lower courts ruling, specifically, the June 2012 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that upheld the EPAs interpretation of the Clean Air Act. The stage is now set for the long-expected showdown about regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. The Supremes botched the 2007 Massachusetts vs. EPA decision that has since morphed into a crazy quilt of absurd regulations and tailoring rules. I still believe the court wants to fix the problem it caused. Breaking Ranks. The Economist has written often about its view of a looming climate catastrophe and has supported radical reductions in the consumption of fossil fuels for many years. In its March 30 issue, the magazine reviewed the latest climate change scientific findings, particularly with respect to the 16+ year global temperature standstill that has occurred while atmospheric CO2 emissions have increased 50% since 1990. The magazine didnt completely reverse course in its long-held views, but it did present a very even-handed assessment of how unsettled the science remains. The Economist even took a shot at the alarmists: If climate scientists were credit-rating agencies, climate sensitivity [the relation between atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and warming] would be on negative watch. I hope other media sources follow its lead. Let me know your thoughts about my la carte servings of opinion. Send your orders to, and dont forget the tip. Dr. Robert Peltier, PE is POWERs editor-in-chief.
POWER June 2013

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Ontario Completes New Niagara Tunnel to Increase Output from Hydro Complex
A massive eight-year construction feat to bore a 41-foot-wide, 6.3-mile-long tunnel deep beneath hard rock under the City of Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada, was successfully completed this March. Undertaken by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to divert water from the Niagara River and carry it downstream to the 2,080-MW Sir Adam Beck generating complex, the C$1.5 billion project now propels additional water to the hydroelectric plant at a rate of 17,660 cubic feet per second (Figure 1). The project has been in the planning for nearly a century. When the Sir Adam Beck Niagara Generating Station Number 1 (then known as the Queenston-Chippawa plant) was opened in 1921, it was accompanied by plans for two canals leading from the Welland River to the power station. After the first canal was

1. A massive undertaking. Ontario Power Generation and Austrian firm STRABAG in March completed construction of a 41-footwide, 6.3-mile-long tunnel deep beneath hard rock under the City of Niagara Falls in Ontario. The project was begun in 2005 to divert water from the Niagara River to the 2,080-MW Sir Adam Beck generating complex. Courtesy:

built, however, the second canal plan was abandoned. In the 1950s, after Ontarios power demand surged, work began on a second generating station (Sir Adam Beck Number 2) at the site as well as on twin water tunnels 45 feet in diameter at a depth of 330 feet. The two tunnels, completed in 1955, and the original 1921 hydro canal divert a total of 63,566 cubic feet of water per second to the two hydroelectric generating units. When work began on the newest Niagara Tunnel, Austrian firm STRABAG Co. was forced to route the tunnel to bypass the glacial silt of the buried St. Davids Gorge and to maintain a safe separation from the existing tunnels (even though they run on a mostly parallel route) at a depth of 459.3 feet (Figure 2). But this depth proved cumbersome, as some workers explain on a site dedicated to the project (, because it was predominantly Queenston Shale (mudstone). The reddishpurplish shale is fractured and has resulted in many roof-line rock falls slowing the boring operation, the site says. Although test boring samples were conducted in preparation for this project, none uncovered the vertical fracturing in the rock strata that the tunneling crews [experienced]. In 2009, the difficult rock conditions forced OPG and STRABAG to revise the projects schedule. According to Ontarios Ministry of Energy, the project that employed 580 people during the peak of construction was completed nine months ahead of the revised schedule and nearly C$100 million under budget.

OTEC Gets Boost with Possibility of 10MW Plant in China

A 10-MW ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) pilot plant is being planned off the coast of southern China by global security and aerospace firm Lockheed Martin and Beijing-based cleantech firm the Reignwood Group. The companies announced an agreement in mid-April to develop the pilot plant to fully power a planned resort community, and if it comes to fruition, the project could pave the way for more efficient and cheaper plant designs using the technology. OTEC plants generally generate electricity by exploiting the oceans thermal gradientstemperature differences of 36F or more between warm surface water and cold deep seawaterto drive a power-producing cycle. According to the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), 23 million square miles of tropical seas absorb an amount of solar radiation equal in heat content to about 250 billion barrels of oila tenth of which could supply 20 times the power needs of the entire U.S. on any given day. The possibilities offered by OTEC have been considered for more than a century. The technology was first proposed as far back as 1881 by a French physicist, and several prototypes have been tested intermittently since the first experimental 22-kW low-pressure turbine was deployed in 1930. In the 1990s, the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research operated a 210-kW open-cycle OTEC plant at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii (Figure 3), and India unsuccessfully tested a floating 1-MW floating OTEC plant near Tamil Nadu in 2002. No commercial plants exist, however, Lockheed Martins own history with OTEC began in 1970s, when it developed a floating mini-OTEC plant (50 kW) that ran for three months. In 2007, Lockheed began developing specialized comPOWER June 2013

2. A rough road. To bypass the glacial silt of the buried St. Davids
Gorge and to maintain a safe separation from an existing 1921-built hydrocanal and 1955-built twin tunnels, the new Niagara Tunnel, completed this March, burrowed at a depth of 459.3 feet in rock strata predominantly consisting of Queenston Shale (mudstone). Source: OPG Tunnel alignment longitudinal section Niagara Intake structure River Normal WL. Normal 164.6 WL. 171.0 Existing tunnels SAB Niagara GS No. 1 Canal Outlet structure Whirlpool Sandstone Queenston Shale
0 1

Buried St. Davids Gorge

2 Kilometers

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3. A hot-and-cold reality.

Lockheed Martin and the Beijingbased Reignwood Group have agreed to develop a 10-MW ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) plant that would exploit the oceans thermal gradients to fully power a new resort community in southern China. Conceptualized in the 1880s, OTECs many benefits are shadowed by the high costs and risks associated with seawater systems. This image shows researchers laying a cold-water pipe at Keahole Point, Hawaii, in the early 1990s. The pipe supplied cold water for an OTEC experiment at Hawaiis Natural Energy Laboratorya 210-kW project that has been billed as the largest net-producing OTEC system tested. Courtesy: A. Resnick

4. Digging deep. Ormat Technologies, the U.S. Department of Energy, and GeothermEx in April said they had successfully produced 1.7 additional megawatts from an enhanced geothermal system (EGS) project inside an existing well field at Ormats Desert Peak 2 geothermal power plant in Churchill County, Nev. This image, taken in 2008, shows an EGS wellhead at Ormats Desert Peak project. Courtesy: NREL

posite piping for obtaining cold water using a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). And in 2009, following a $8.1 million contract with the U.S. Navy, the company continued to develop a 10-MW OTEC pilot plant in Hawaii, which included creating a robust interface between the platform and cold water piping. That project was apparently cancelled after the Navy deemed the project too costly. According to NREL, cost is the most significant reason the technology has failed to reach larger scale, despite the investigation of many potential thermodynamic cycles to reduce overall costs. The estimated capital cost for OTEC in 2011 ranged from $10,000/kW to $15,000/kW, and the majority of costs are linked to seawater systems, the research lab says. However, the technologys potential benefits are lucrative, Lockheed says. Not only can OTEC serve as a baseload power source that is renewable, OTEC power can also be used to produce hydrogen (via electrolytic processing of freshwater) and ammonia, which can be shipped to areas not close to OTEC. The system can also include freshwater production by flash evaporating the warm seawater and condensing the subsequent water vapor using seawater. Once a proposed plant is developed and operational in China, Lockheed and Reignwood plan to use the knowledge gained to improve the design of the additional commercial-scale plantsof up to 100 MWto be built over the next decade.

U.S. EGS Project Adds 1.7 MW GridConnected Output

One of the first enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) was connected to the U.S. electric grid this April, marking a major milestone for the fledgling technology that seeks to tap the enormous terrestrial heat potential deep within Earths crust using directional drilling and pressurized water. Reno, Nev. based Ormat Technologies, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Schlumberger subsidiary GeothermEx said they had stimu10

lated an existing injection well to increase power output from brine by 1.7 MW at Ormats grid-connected 26-MW Desert Peak 2 geothermal plant in the Brady complex in Nevadas Churchill County (Figure 4). EGS, a method also referred to as a hot dry rock or hot fractured rock system, has been around for more than three decades. Around the world, several large-scale EGS field projects have reached varying degrees of success, but only one projectthe 2007-commissioned 3.2-MW Landau project in Germanyhas sustained commercial production rates. The method has been stalled by a variety of issues, foremost among them an exponentially higher power cost than for fossil-fueled generation, owing to expenses associated with drilling of deep geothermal wells, experts say. EGS is essentially an engineered heat exchanger designed to extract geothermal energy under circumstances in which conventional geothermal production is uneconomic or inefficient. It involves enhancing the permeability of deep hot rock by hydrothermal fracturing, high-rate water injection, and/or chemical dissolution of minerals by drilling production wells to depths of 10,000 feet and beyond where temperatures reach upwards of 350F. A cold working fluidwater, typicallyis then allowed to flow through the deep openings in the rock to further crack it and to mine its heat energy. When the water is pumped back to the surface, the resulting steam is used to power a turbine to generate power. The water is cooled again into a liquid and injected back into the ground to repeat the cycle in a closed-loop system. Ormats Desert Peak EGS project uses a production well at a previously built geothermal site in Churchill County, and its developers say that since beginning power production, it has increased power output at the site by nearly 38%. The project was of particular significance to Ormat because it helped the company demonstrate how EGS could be employed on sub-commercial wells. This could enable us to use unproductive wells to generate more power and new revenue, explained Lucien Bronicki, Ormats founder and chief techPOWER June 2013


THE BIG PICTURE: Power Accident Impacts

The history of electric power has been stained by several devastating incidents triggered by natural hazards, technological failures, malicious actions, and human error. Here POWER surveys some of the worlds most devastating or costly incidents. Colors: orange = nuclear event, blue = water event, black = coal event. Size of the stain indicates relative magnitude. Copy and artwork by Sonal Patel, Senior Writer

Dec. 1, 1923Valle di Scalve, Italy: A portion of Gleno's Dam attached to a 3.7-MW hydroelectric plant in northern Italy completely fails 40 days after its reservoir was lled, ooding local countryside (Fatalities: 356)

Dec. 22, 2008Tenn., U.S.: Following the breach of a 50-year-old coal ash storage pond at the Tennessee Valley Authoritys 1,700-MW Kingston Fossil Plant, an estimated 1.1 billion U.S. gallons of material, mostly wet ash, is released onto some 300 acres of surrounding land and ows up and downstream of two Tennessee River tributaries. (Cost: $1.2B)
Mar. 28 1979Pa., U.S.: Equipment failure contributes to loss of coolant and partial meltdown at one of two reactors at Three Mile Island. (Cost: $2.4B)

Aug. 8, 1975Henan Province, China: Banqiao Dam and Shimantan Reservoir Dam on the Ru River catastrophically fail following Super Typhoon Nina, causing a wave 6.2-miles wide and up to 23 feet high that created temporary lakes as large as 4,600 square miles, inundating 18 villages. (Fatalities: 171,000) Apr. 26,1986Kiev, Ukraine: A awed reactor design operated by inadequately trained personnel at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant results in a steam explosion and re of at least 5% of the radioactive reactor core into the atmosphere. (Fatalities: 30)

Mar. 11, 2011Fukushima Prefecture, Japan: Four of six reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Daiichi reactors lose cooling function after being inundated by a 49-foot-high tsunami following a 9.0-magnitude earthquake. Cores of Units 13 reactors melt within the rst three days, and all four reactors are later written off. (Cost: $152B)

Aug. 17, 2009 Khakassia, Russia: Turbine 2 of the 6.4-MW Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric station breaks apart violently, ooding the turbine hall and engine room and damaging nine of the plant's 10 operational turbines. (Fatalities: 75)


POWER June 2013

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nology officer. Conducted under a stringent induced seismicity protocol developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and the DOE, the project used Ormats air-cooled power plants, so no water was consumed in the conversion of energy into power. We achieved an increased injection rate up to 1,600 gallons per minute without consuming or discharging water at the surface and using only existing geothermal brine returned to the original aquifer, Bronicki said. The project, which has received $5.4 million in direct DOE funding (and $2.6 million matched by Ormat), got its start in 2002, and a boost in 2008 as several entitiesincluding the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), LBNL, and Sandia National Laboratoriesjoined the operation. It is currently one of a handful of projects in the U.S. focused on demonstrating the commercial viability of EGS. Other DOE-sponsored projects include a Calpine demonstration project at The Geysers in Middletown, Calif., and an AltaRock demonstration project at the Newberry Volcano near Bend, Ore. Seattle-based AltaRock Energy this January announced a milestone of its own, claiming it had created multiple stimulated zones from a single wellbore at its projectan achievement that could dramatically increase the flow and energy output per well for the completed system, it said. AltaRock this year expects to test for permeability, flow rates, and heat-capturing properties of created reservoirs before it drills production wells about 1,500 feet from the injection well. The DOE, meanwhile, plans to widen its investment in EGS. In February, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory re-

leased a technology roadmap for strategic development of EGS systems in the U.S., citing a 2008 USGS projection that EGS could be exploited to meet projected capacities on the order of 100-plus GW. The potential for EGS has especially heightened, the roadmap notes, because current practices in unconventional oil and gas developmentparticularly technology advancements for drilling horizontal wells and for fracturing fluidsdemonstrate that rapid technology advancement correlates with sector growth by improving project economics and decreasing risk.

Ningde 1 Is Latest Chinese Reactor to Start Commercial Operation

Ningde 1, the first of four Chinese-designed CPR-1000 pressurized water reactors being built at a site in Fujian Province, began commercial operation this April after a 58-month construction period. The 1,080-MWe unit was grid-connected in late December 2012 and underwent a 168-hour trial operation before it began commercial operation. The $7.6 billion Ningde reactors, all which will come online by 2015 (Figure 5), are 46% owned by China Guangdong Nuclear Power Co. (CGN) and 44% by China Datang Corp., while the Fujian Provincial Energy Group holds the remaining shares. CGN in February successfully grid-connected Unit 1 of the Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Plant in Liaoning Province, the first nuclear plant ever in Northeast China. That six-reactor project is also slated for completion by 2015. China now has 17 reactors in operation, 28 others under construction, and several more in the planning phase. Most are do-

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POWER June 2013


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5. Rendering of Ningde site. The first of four CPR-1000 reactors under construction by the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Co., China Datang Corp., and a local partner at the Ningde site in Fujian Province, China, has begun commercial operation. The second unit is expected to come online later this year, Unit 3 in 2014, and Unit 4 in 2015. Each of the reactors is rated at 1,080 MWe. China will add at least 23 new reactors to its current fleet of 17 by 2015. Most will feature Chinese CPR-1000 technology, but at least four (Sanmen Units 1 and 2 in Zhejiang Province and Haiyang Units 1 and 2 in Shandong Province) will be AP1000s, and two (Taishan Units 1 and 2 in Guangdong Province) will be EPRs. Courtesy: CGN

mestically designed reactors that draw from French, Canadian, and Russian technology, though Westinghouses AP1000 is expected to be the main basis of Chinas transition to GenerationIII technology. China is also developing the Advanced CPR-1000 (ACPR1000) with full Chinese intellectual property rights for export, expected after 2014. This March, CGN Chair He Yu was quoted as saying, however, that China still lacks proprietary nuclear power technology and full intellectual rights that would make it a competitive international player. Currently, the Chinese nuclear power enterprises generally lack the experience of developing the international market as well as the awareness of marketing, competition, and risk control, and also are in urgent need of talents for internationalization, he said.

and Harbin Electric Co. Ltd. received the orders in 2007 and 2008. MHI designed and manufactured the nuclear plant turbines, which are large units integrating the latest 54-inch class rotating blade. Harbin Electric supplied turbine casings, piping, and associated equipment. MHI previously completed nuclear plant turbine generators for two reactors at the newly built Laguna Verde plant in Mexico and the fourth nuclear plant in Taiwan. ABB to Supply Components for 8-GW Power Link. ABB in mid-April secured an order of about $150 million to supply converter transformers, direct current filter capacitors, and key components for converter valves for the 8-GW Xiluodu-Zhexi power link in China. The 800-kV ultra-high-voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission connection that will stretch 1,670 km from Yibin in Sichuan Province in southwest China to Zhejiang province on the eastern coast has been billed as the worlds highest capacity power link. ABB pioneered HVDC technology 60 years ago, and the company says UHVDC transmission, a development of HVDC, represents the biggest capacity and efficiency leap in more than two decades. Alstom to Supply Transformers to Brazilian Line. Alstom in early April said it supplied two high-voltage direct current (HVDC) converter transformers to the Rio Madeira power transmission line in Brazil, a line that measures 2,375 km (1,476 miles) and features two converter stations at Porto Velho in the central state of Rondonia and Araraquara in Sao Paulo, in the southeast. The projectone of the longest in the worldwill bring power from two mega-hydroelectric plants, the 3,150-MW Santo Antonio and 3,150-MW Jirau plants, in the Amazon region to densely populated cities in the south. Construction of 579-MW PV Plant Begins. U.S. firms MidAmerican Solar and SunPower in late April began construction of the 579-MW Antelope Valley Solar project in California, a project comprising two photovoltaic (PV) plants in Kern and Los Angeles counties whose electricity will be sold to Southern California Edison under two long-term contracts. Construction of the plants is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

POWER Digest
NRC Poised to Rule on SCE Proposal to Restart San Onofre Unit 2. Southern California Edison (SCE) on April 5 submitted
a voluntary request to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a license amendment to support restart of Unit 2 of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, and the NRC later said in a preliminary finding that restart of the crippled reactor did not pose significant safety risks. SCEs proposal has called for a five-month trial period to operate Unit 2 at 70% power, and the utility asked the NRC to act on the amendment before the end of May so the unit would be available to help meet peak summer power demand in southern California by June 1. Both reactors at the San Onofre plant have been shut down since January 2012, after workers discovered significant tube-to-tube wear.

UK Selects Winners of CCS Commercialization Program. The UKs Department of Energy and Climate Change
in late March announced that the Peterhead project in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and the White Rose project in Yorkshire, England, are the two preferred bidders for selected funding stemming from the agencys 1 billion ($1.6 billion) Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Commercialisation Programme Competition. Shell and Scottish and Southern Energys Peterhead project involves capturing about 90% of the carbon dioxide from part of the existing gas-fired power station at Peterhead before transporting it and storing it in a depleted gas field beneath the North Sea. A consortium consisting of Alstom, Drax Power, BOC, and National Grid will develop the White Rose project, which will capture about 90% of carbon dioxide from a new 426-MW coal-fired plant at the Drax site that will be designed to cofire biomass. The carbon dioxide will then be transported by pipeline for storage in a saline aquifer beneath the North Sea seabed. The UK government is expected to enter into contracts this summer for front end engineering design studies, and a final investment decision could be made as early as 2015. Captain Clean Energy and Teesside Low Carbon, the remaining two bidders with whom the agency had also been in discussion for the selected funding, will be appointed as reserve projects. Sonal Patel is POWERs senior writer.
POWER June 2013

MHI Ships Turbine Rotors to AP1000 Plants in China.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) on April 25 said it had completed the shipment of 16 turbine rotors (12 low-pressure and four high-pressure units) to Units 1 and 2 of the Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant and Units 1 and 2 of the Haiyang Nuclear Power Plant in China, which are under construction and using Westinghouses AP1000 reactor design. The Sanmen units in Sanmen, Zhejiang Province, are being built by Sanmen Nuclear Power Co., while the Haiyang units in Haiyang, Shandong Province, are being built by Shandong Nuclear Power Co. MHI



Tight Fit, Tight Timeline

Converting the bottom ash handling process of a power plant from a wet sluicing system to a dry system was key to future permit compliance. The utility needed the new equipment to t within the existing space, and it needed the project operational with a brief outage. Mike Roush led a team that included the client/owner, designers, vendors and construction personnel in a closely coordinated effort that fullled both requirements. The process included initial equipment selection, contract award, construction coordination and startup coordination. The plant is now operating seamlessly with a submerged ight conveyor and dry ight conveyors that handle the bottom ash, air heater ash and economizer ash.

Mikes experience includes 12 years of responsibility to coal power plant owners for the design, project management, engineering management, contract administration, eld work and startup of new plants and plant upgrades. He is part of our team of experienced power plant professionals who can help you identify the water alternative that ts: Zero liquid discharge Customized wastewater treatment and water management Constructed wetlands Landll and pond management Bottom ash handling
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LADWP Harnesses LMS100 to Solve Once-Through Cooling Dilemma

Los Angeles sits alongside the worlds largest body of water, and naturally the citys Department of Water & Power (LADWP) placed its generating stations along the shoreline to take advantage of that abundant resource for cooling. The LADWP built three coastal generating stations that provide the city with 2,162 MW, about 35% of the peak annual demand. Well, at least it seemed like a good idea at the time. Updates to Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act are expected to mandate that new, and some existing, power plants take additional steps to minimize fish mortality by plant cooling water intake structures. Those updates are scheduled for a late June 2013 release. However, in May 2010 the California State Water Resources Control Board issued a policy that all existing power plants using ocean water for once-through cooling (OTC) reduce their water usage by 93%. To address this requirement, the LADWP has begun a $2.4 billion, multi-decade project to repower the three generating stations, not only reducing the water used but also creating a more efficient and flexible generating capacity. We have a variety of efforts under way that mesh together well, says John Dennis, LADWPs director of power system engineering. They all work together to meet California regulations and energy efficiency goals, as well as any federal requirements. It is a pretty exciting plan. Reliability, Rates, and Reduced Carbon Footprint Each year, the LADWP issues an updated Power Integrated Resources Plan (IRP), which provides the long-term planning for the utilitys power generation resources. The IRP is based on three key objectives: maintaining a high level of electric service reliability, maintaining competitive rates, and exercising environmental stewardship, including a reduced carbon footprint. These goals are often in tension. The utility has already made significant progress toward its environmental goals. It has achieved the state mandate for 20% renewable energy, reducing its CO2 emissions by 23% compared to 1990, and is on target for reaching 33% reduction by 2020. Participants in LADWPs Green Energy program were receiving 104 GWh annually from wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro facilities in several western states. The carbon reductions have come largely from reducing the importation of electricity produced from coal, including shutting down the 1,500-MW Mohave Generating Station, of which LADWP was a co-owner, and switching to natural gas and renewable generation. Looking ahead, the IRP envisions further increases to the use of wind and solar and early shutdown of one of LADWPs two remaining coal plants, while replacing the once-through cooling systems with dry condensers. Although the plan does a good job of meeting the first and third of the key objectives outlined above, the second objective, maintaining competitive rates, does take a hit. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administrations Electric Power Monthly for April 2013, California already had the 10th highest average cost of electricity at 13.02/kWh in Feb. 2013, 33% higher than the national average and roughly 45% higher than the average of the three states it borders: Oregon (8.39), Nevada (8.17), and Arizona (9.30). According to the IRP,

the prices may rise to 22/kWh over the next decade, adding about $50 to the average residential customers monthly bill and $600 extra per month for a commercial or industrial customer using 6,500 kWh. Maintaining reliable service remains a difficult chore, particularly in the face of increasing renewable usage and the OTC mandate. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) says that this can be achieved through increased use of fast-response, high-efficiency combustion turbines. Gas-fired generation is our only means to do this right now until storage and demand response have matured to compensate for the fluctuations of wind and solar power, says CAISO spokesperson Stephanie McCorkle. We are actively educating policy makers and trying to propose a solution at the regulatory level as well to ensure that there is still enough conventional gas-fired generation available to us to be able to maintain reliability as we see more and more renewables added to the grid. LADWP manages its own grid, and sees quick-start gas generation as the way to accommodate more renewables in its generation mix and cut its use of ocean water. We looked at the technologies available and decided to go with advanced CT technology, says Dennis. We saw the need to be more flexible and have faster startup times, and this would integrate well with our variable renewable energy sources. The Haynes Project As with any major, long-term generation strategy, LADWPs IRP has to take into account a variety of competing factors and find the best mix of resources to meet its needs. In addition to cutting water use while providing energy efficiency and flexibility, generating stations must also provide enough reactive power to support the grid and allow the importation of power from remote renewable sources. This wasnt a problem with the old boilers. Because the units were slow in starting up, we would always have something running, says Dennis. It may not have been the most efficient, but we always had some kind of spinning reserve connected, which provided inertia. When switching to the fast-start CTs, this would no longer be possible, and so the design had to find another way to provide voltage support. LADWP has nine OTC units at its three generating stations. These plants were also getting on in years and needed a technology refresh anyway. The first of these stations to undergo repowering is the Haynes Generating Station in Long Beach. Built in the 1960s, Haynes has six natural gas steam units generating 1,600 MW total. In 2005, Units 3 and 4 were repowered with a 575-MW 2 x 1 combined cycle power block (Units 810) that is 40% more efficient and has 94% fewer emissions than the boilers it replaced. Our plan for Units 5 and 6 was to move on with another combined cycle block of similar size, using large frame units, says Dennis. We were close to having the environmental impact report done, but then the once-through cooling rule came out and we had to take a whole different approach. After looking at all the options, LADWP decided that it would be better to go with six 100-MW GE LMS100 fast-start, simple cycle combustion turbines rather than a single combined cycle unit. Although at full capacity the combined cycle unit would
POWER June 2013


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be more efficient, the LMS100s were better overall based on actual usage. Each LMS100 can go from 0 to 100 MW in 10 minutes, can operate at half-load, and has a 50-MW per minute ramp rate. As a result, this gives the Haynes plant the ability to rapidly respond to system fluctuations, operating anywhere from zero to all six turbines. If we had a 600-MW power block, we would have had a big jump of 300 MW, says Dennis. These can be run all the way up to the 600 MW and any kind of increments in between. This didnt, however, solve the problem of having enough reactive power to support the grid. If there was a single large unit that was continuously operating and ramping up and down as needed, the generator would provide the necessary VARs to help pull in the power from the remote generating stations. But during periods when there is ample renewable power available, the LMS100s are offline. To address this, LADWP had two of the LMS100s equipped with clutches from SSS Clutch Co., Inc. so they can operate as synchronous condensers. These overrunning clutches sit between the turbine and the generator. When the generator initially fires up, the clutch forms a connection so that it drives the generator. Then, when the unit is no longer needed for generation, the turbine can be ramped down. The clutch automatically disconnects the turbine from the generator, and the generator keeps spinning, synchronized to the grid and providing the necessary voltage support. Later, when active power is needed, the unloaded turbine fires up and the clutch automatically reconnects the two. In another example of this application, CFE retrofitted an existing unit at its CTG Universidad Plant in Monterrey, Mexico, with an SSS clutch to provide additional reactive power to the downtown industrial district. This project was POWERs 2011 Marmaduke Award winner. (See CFE Extends CRG Universidad Unit 2s Life with Conversion to Synchronous Condenser in the August 2011 issue at Two additional LMS100 project reports are available online about the Groton Generating Station, September 2007, and the Panoche Energy Center, September 2010.) During extremely slow periods, we could go all the way down to zero generation and just keep the generator synchronized and acting as voltage support to the system, says Dennis. This gives us greater overall flexibility and replaces the old technology that took so long to start up.

1. Six-pack plant. LADWP purchased six General Electric LMS100

simple cycle combustion turbines for its Haynes Project because of the machines fast start and excellent part-load efficiency, and because the units may be used as synchronous condensers. The LMS100 is GEs first aeroderivative gas turbine rated higher than 100 MW. Source: General Electric Power turbine shaft CF6-80E CF6-80C2 High-pressure High-pressure turbine compressor Intercooler system

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POWER June 2013


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Eliminating the Water On Sept. 29, 2011, LADWP broke ground on the $782 million repowering project. The major equipment started arriving in mid-March 2012, and by April 2, three 190-ton turbines, 182-ton generators, and 100-ton dry cooling towers had been

2. Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to cool.

The first two units are shown here during construction, with the generator and the LMS100 to the right of the foreground and the intercooler in the left background. The units do not use any ocean cooling water, unlike the units they are replacing. California requires generators to severely reduce the amount of ocean cooling water used in future plants. Courtesy: LADWP

delivered to the site, with the other three units arriving last summer. Testing and tuning began last November and continued through April 2013, so the peakers will be ready for the 2013 summer season. We are targeted for substantial completion in June of 2013, and everything is looking on schedule for that to happen, says Dennis. In the meantime, the utility is progressing on its second repowering project: replacing the three units at the Scattergood Generating Station near Los Angeles International Airport. As of this writing, LADWP is finalizing contracts before beginning work to replace Unit 3, which is scheduled for completion at the end of 2015. The Scattergood project will include a mix of simple cycle units and combined cycle units with similar options for clutches as at Haynes. Either way, it will include dry cooling towers. Next on the list are the other two units at Scattergood, then two more units at Haynes, one unit at the Harbor Generating station, and then finally replacing the combined cycle units installed at Haynes by 2029. At that point, the LADWP will no longer be using any ocean water for cooling at any of its plants. Not only can we meet our energy demands, says Dennis, but incrementally step down the use of ocean water, increase our use of renewable energy from 20% to 33% by 2020, increase our energy efficiency by 10% by 2020, and reduce our CO2 and NOx emissions. Contributed by Joe Zwers, a freelance writer from Glendale, Calif., specializing in engineering and technology.

June 2013 POWER

Steven F . Greenwald

Jeffrey P . Gray

Renewable Energy Policy Review Required

ing oil exploration, or siting nuclear waste disposalsas being an affront to our capitalistic society ignores reality. Absent governmental direction, a market dedicated to least-cost principles will select proven fossil-fuel technologies, disregarding the benefits of diversity in generation and forsaking technological advances.

he Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently reported that 14 of the 29 states that have adopted a renewable procurement mandate are currently considering legislation that would water down or repeal the renewable set-aside. Proponents of repeal describe their motivation as simple economics: Renewable power increases costs to electric consumers.

The Political Briar Patch In our increasingly partisan world, the debate regarding the role of government and renewable power has been relegated to political wedge status. A state senator advocating repeal of Ohios renewable legislation equated it to Joseph Stalins five-year plan. Another state senator seeks to eliminate Texas renewable mandate, insisting that renewables need to be developed with free-market principles, not with the heavy hand of government directing us to an inefficient process. The intensified political characteristic of the renewables debate is epitomized by Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, advocating the rescission of renewable mandates because they function much like a tax increase. According to the WSJ, the defenders of the renewable mandates are similarly resorting to politics, castigating the repeal initiatives as funded by fossil-fuel interests. The WSJ also intimates that a Kansas state senator voted to preserve renewables primarily because his district includes a plant that produces wind turbines. Political Rhetoric Frustrates Energy Policy Any meaningful government support for energy resource policy must set long-term objectives; the technological development and commercial deployment of new energy resources are not achievable with off-the-shelf items. The boom or bust development cycle wind generation has experienced can largely be attributed to the market uncertainties Congress has engendered by finding it politically more advantageous to offer tax incentives that expire within one year. As a matter of economic theory, renewable mandates are inefficient. For instance, most utility performance targets are set on an MWh basisutilities thus have the incentive to purchase higher-cost renewables even at off-peak hours when less-costly alternatives are available. For purposes of system operations, the promotion of solar and wind projectswithout considering the need for transmission facilities to move their power to load centers, and ignoring the need for additional and flexible baseload power for system reliability purposesgenerates far less than optimal results. However, such inefficiency provides no basis for repeal. By definition, any government program designed to promote a market is inefficient when compared to the invisible hand of a perfectly functioning competitive market. Attacks against renewable mandates on the basis that they represent yet another government intrusion simply represent just another distracting chapter in the big versus no government debate. Electricity is perhaps the most regulated, government-intrusive industry in the nation. Accordingly, challenging any governmental energy programwhether it is promoting renewable mandates, encourag22

Least-Cost Analysis Is Necessary Abstract debates emphasizing political philosophy distract from the imperative to conduct adult discussions with the objective to establish integrated, balanced, and long-term policies regarding generating resources. Other than system reliability, overall cost must remain the primary driver in any assessment among competing fuels and technologies. However, selection of least cost cannot be resolved in one-dimensional 30-second sound bites. Any enterprise can achieve least cost today by making no investment in the future. On the other hand, everyone supports utilities subordinating least cost and incurring the expenses necessary to maintain current facilities and to construct new facilities to serve load growth. Selecting the inputs to compare the actual costs of generation resources remains challenging. The higher capital investment for renewables must be weighed against the higher historically volatile, and politically sensitive, price for fossil fuels. The comparison must be dynamic and incorporate a multiplicity of forecasts and assumptions. Will encouragement of solar projects promote investment in solar technologies, driving down capital costs and increasing production? Conversely, will turning away from renewables in the name of least cost inexorably trigger price escalations of natural gas, the least cost champion du jour? Any meaningful comparison between construction and environmental costs of the transmission lines to enable renewable generation to provide the greatest value and the greenhouse gasassociated costs of fossil fuels requires a subjective assessment of infinite proportions. If increased use of renewable technologies can decrease the nations reliance on imported fossil fuels, how do policy-makers monetize these geopolitical benefits in deciding our energy future? An optimal-functioning market requires governing bodies to commit to an affirmative, consistent, and long-term policy for promoting renewable fuels and advancing the associated technologies. Private investors stand ready to commit hundreds of millions of dollars and enable renewables to become more cost-competitive, but only if they have assurance that they will have a true competitive opportunity to sell their product based on free-market principles. Skeptics must recognize the economic/regulatory reality that five-year (and even 10-year) plans are necessary to afford renewables the opportunity to compete. Legislative critics can best serve their constituents by enabling decision-makers to decide renewable resources policy on the basis of integrated economic, environmental, reliability, and global political considerations, including calculating least cost on a transparent and multipletime horizon basis. Steven F. Greenwald ( and Jeffrey P. Gray ( are partners in Davis Wright Tremaines Energy Practice Group.
POWER June 2013



Improving Warm Weather Performance of the LM6000

Courtesy: Energy Concepts Co.

The LM6000 is the most widely used aeroderivative combustion turbine (CT) in the world, with more than 1,000 installations. As with all CTs, power output and heat rate degrade markedly during warm weather. The ARCTIC (Absorption Refrigeration Cycle Turbine Inlet Conditioning) system eliminates this deficiency.
Donald C. Erickson and Ellen E. Makar, Energy Concepts Co.
he power rating and heat rate of all combustion turbines (CTs) degrade with increasing ambient temperature. Unfortunately, in most regions, the warmest weather (daily and yearly) is coincident with the greatest demand for electricity and is the exact time when CT performance plunges. A good example of the warm weather performance effect is the PC SPRINT model of General Electrics LM6000. This CT produces 51.3 MW at a heat rate of 8,488 Btu/ kWh when the ambient temperature is 48F. But when the temperature rises to 100F, the CT output dips to 38.5 MW and heat rate degrades (increases) by over 6%. This degradation is the primary reason why many CTs in warm weather service have some means of conditioning the inlet air.

New Air Inlet Cooling Option

Historically, there have been two primary options for inlet air chilling: evaporative cooling (spray or wetted media) and mechanical compression. At 100F ambient temperature, evap24

orative cooling increases the LM6000 output to 44.6 MW (dependent upon humidity), with 2% degradation in heat rate (compared to the heat rate at 48F). Mechanical compression chilling of the inlet air to 48F increases the output to 49 MW net, but the heat rate degradation increases to 5%. For this discussion, net output includes chilling parasitic load but excludes other plant parasitic loads. A third option has now proven its worth in long-term operation. The Absorption Refrigeration Cycle Turbine Inlet Conditioning (ARCTIC) systemdeveloped by Energy Concepts Co., with team members Kiewit Power Engineers and Nooter/Eriksenuses an exhaust heatpowered inlet air-conditioning system (Figure 1). With ARCTIC, the net output of the LM6000 on the same 100F day increases to 51 MW, with no heat rate degradation. The performance gain comes from using exhaust heat to produce the necessary chilling, thus avoiding the roughly 2 MW parasitic penalty of mechanical compression (based on a 2,000-ton centrifugal chiller).

Figure 2 illustrates the performance gains achieved with and without using ARCTIC on an LM6000 PC SPRINT. An LM6000 PC SPRINT with ARCTIC system installed at a central Texas utility has demonstrated this capability nearly every day for the past three summers, operating for 2 to 12 hours per day, in response to market conditions. The system requires no operators and functions fully automatically by matching the CTs 10-minute start to full-load power sequence. When the CT shuts down, ARCTIC automatically shuts down after a short cool-down period. There were approximately 400 starts of the LM6000 during a three-year demonstration period of the ARCTIC system. During this demonstration, the ARCTIC automatic start sequence failed only five times, producing a start reliability of nearly 99%. Importantly, failed starts were all nonrecurring failures. In each case of a failed ARCTIC start, the CT start and operation continued without interruption. The LM6000 merely operated without the warm
POWER June 2013

1. New inlet air-cooling option. An LM6000 PC SPRINT combustion turbine with ARCTIC has completed three summers of operation in central Texas. The ARCTIC system is designed to operate in tandem with the remote start of the LM6000. Courtesy: Energy Concepts Co. 2. Flat-line performance.
The ARCTIC-equipped LM6000 PC SPRINT with NOx water injection is shown as a percentage of ISO output across a range of ambient temperatures. The SPRINT version of the LM6000 also uses water injection into the high-pressure and low-pressure compressors to produce an additional 3.5 MW across all ambient temperatures. Source: Kiewit Power Engineers LM6000 base 105 100 LM6000 ARCTIC

Percentage of ISO output

95 90 85 80 75

weather performance enhancement. The ammonia-water absorbent of the ARCTIC system passes through a heat exchanger inserted in the CT exhaust gas, producing 2,000 tons of chilling while also cooling the CT exhaust gas from 840F to 720F. Remarkably, the lower exhaust temperature is also the ideal operating


40 60 Ambient temperature (F)



temperature for the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalyst for maximum catalytic activity and catalyst life. The heat exchanger added to the exhaust path adds roughly 0.6 inches water

column to the exhaust pressure drop. This added pressure drop is actually less than the exhaust pressure drop caused when adding tempering air fans to reduce the CT exhaust temperature


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to match the SCR temperature needs while also eliminating the added parasitic electric load of the tempering air fans. Industrial CTs (such as the General Electric Frame 7FA) also benefit from exhaust-powered inlet air chilling. These CTs typically have a lower compression ratio, and hence have more excess air than aeroderivative turbines. As a result, they derive a somewhat lower power gain from chilling, about 4.5 kW/ton of chilling instead of the 5.0 kW/ ton enjoyed by the LM6000. However, when the frame turbine is used in combined cycle mode, the power gain from inlet air chilling increases to more than 5.5 kW/ton. The ARCTIC mode of operation is more advantageous than duct firing because it restores the warm day power to the CTs standard rating, but without the heat rate penalties of duct firing. Duct firing can still be used when peak power is required. Inlet chilling of combined cycles can further increase cycle efficiency by preheating feedwater using the ARCTIC system reject heat, further improving the combined cycle efficiency. Normally, the chiller rating is selected only for chilling the inlet air. However, sufficient heat energy remains in the exhaust after the SCR to produce several thousand tons of additional chilling for other applications, such as chilled water storage, cooling electric generators, lube oil systems, or any other systems adversely affected by hot weather. chiller (TIAC) perform essentially identical functions as their mechanical compression counterparts. The wet surface air cooler (WSAC) was selected for the demonstration plant because of superior performance, but it does required 40 gpm of makeup water at design conditions. (For more information on WSACs, see Wet Surface Air Coolers Minimize Water Use by Maximizing Heat Transfer Efficiency in the September 2008 issue at The total design requirement for makeup cooling water for the ARCTIC system plant is 125 gpm. However, the inlet air chilling is well below the wet bulb temperature, so there is a steady stream of almost pure condensate recovered, about 25 gpm at design conditions. In locations where water is scarce, aircooling is another option. The performance gain relative to mechanical compression is even greater when air-cooled because aircooled mechanical compressors require more parasitic power to operate. The air-cooled variant of this system has been designed to operate at ambient temperatures up to 125F. The TIAC can be chilled by a circulating coolant (water or glycol) or by direct expansion of refrigerant. The latter was selected for the demonstration plant, avoiding the 80-kW parasitic load of the coolant pumps. Chilled ammonia is expanded and distributed into the TIAC coils at 34F. The refrigerant heat exchanger (RHX) is equivalent to the suction line heat exchanger (SLHX) found in some mechanical compression units for efficiency improvement. The RHX improves the coefficient of performance (COP), the efficiency of the refrigeration unit, by nearly 10%. The resulting ARCTIC COP is a very attractive 0.6, where each unit of exhaust heat input yields 0.6 units of chilling output. The remaining ARCTIC componentsheat recovery vapor generator (HRVG), rectifier, cooler, absorber, and solution heat exchanger (SHX)are responsible for compressing the low-pressure vapor from the TIAC to produce high-pressure vapor for the condenser. The function is synonymous with the electricpowered compressor of the mechanical vapor compression system. The low-pressure ammonia vapor is next absorbed into the aqueous ammonia absorbent located in the absorber. The cooler keeps the absorber at low temperature to allow absorption to proceed. The absorbed solution is next pumped to higher pressure and recuperatively heated in the SHX before being desorbed by exhaust heat in the HRVG, at the high-side pressure of 230 psig. A solution pump pressurizes the solution from low-side pressure (50 psig) up to 230 psig. The 60-kW solution pump (shown below the absorber in Figure 3) is the primary electric demand of the cycle, with the evaporative cooler fans. The equivalent mechanical compressor system requires 2,000 kW. Next, the desorbed vapor has approximately 10% water vapor, which is reduced to less than 2% in the rectifier. The non-adiabatic rectification eliminates the need for separate reflux or reboil, thus minimizing any penalty to cycle efficiency. Physically, the rectifier is a 5-foot-diameter column with seven non-adiabatic distillation trays. Each tray has about 180 square feet of heat exchange surface. The ammonia inventory in the 2,000-ton ARCTIC is approximately 6,000 pounds. Most cold storage warehouses and food processors have similar or larger ammonia inventories. However, there are notable differences. The ARCTIC ammonia is diluted with about 8,000 pounds of water, and it contains no oil, making the solution appreciably less hazardous than anhydrous ammonia used in the SCR. Winter peaks in electric demand also occur in the region where the demonstration plant is located. When the ambient temperature is below 40F and the air is humid, the LM6000 requires the inlet air to be heated at least 10F to avoid icing in the bellmouth or on the low-pressure compressor stationary vanes. The ARCTIC system has an anti-icing mode in which it heats the inlet air by 20F to eliminate inlet icing. The transition between heating mode and chilling mode is automatic. This mode of operation was demonstrated multiple times each winter (and on exceptionally cold spring and fall days). The robustness of ARCTIC was demonstrated by its reliable operation during exceptionally harsh test conditions, such as during ambient temperatures from 110F down to 11F, multiple starts and stops per day, and
POWER June 2013

ARCTIC Operation
The component parts of the ARCTIC system are illustrated in Figure 3. The evaporative condenser and the turbine inlet air

3. ARCTIC flow diagram. In general, waste heat from the combustion turbine (CT) exhaust is used in an absorption chilling system to cool the CTs inlet air. The ARCTIC system is designed to produce sufficient chilling to maintain a constant power output, with little change in system efficiency, across a wide temperature range. Source: Energy Concepts Co.

Evaporative condenser Rectifier Refrigerant heat exchanger Absorber Solution heat exchanger Exhaust

Air Turbine inlet air chiller

Evaporative cooler Fuel

Heat recovery vapor generator

Selective catalytic reduction


4. ARCTIC equipment. The
ARCTIC system is packaged onto a single skid to enable quick field installation and ease of interconnection with the LM6000 PC SPRINT. Courtesy: Energy Concepts Co.

The ARCTIC is delivered as a skidded unit (Figure 4). For utility applications, the standard skid sizes are 2,000 tons and 3,000 tons of inlet chilling. For smaller turbines (less than 20 MW) a range of skid sizes is available, from 100 to 1,000 tons. The ARCTIC system has a small cost premium relative to a mechanical chiller of the same capacity. However, when all the auxiliary functions are credited (anti-icing, tempering air, less switchgear), the overall installed cost is essentially the same. The systems big plus is the increased cold- and hot-weather performance, improved operating efficiency, and reduced maintenance relative to a plant using a mechanical chiller for inlet cooling, all obtained at no additional cost.

frequent, rapid power cycling from minimum to maximum output. In one notable episode, temperatures in central Texas dropped to a record-setting 11F. Several large power plants

were knocked offline, causing critical power supply shortages. The ARCTIC LM6000 operated for 62 continuous hours until the emergency passed.

Donald C. Erickson (enerconcep@aol. com) is president and Ellen E. Makar is the projects engineer for Energy Concepts Co., the ammonia absorption refrigeration technology supplier. The authors wish to acknowledge the other members of the team that developed the utility-scale ARCTIC: Kiewit Power Engineers Chris Mieckowski, responsible for project implementation, and Nooter/Eriksen, supplier of the heat recovery vapor generator.




Fast-Start HRSG Life-Cycle Optimization

Modern heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) design must balance operating response with the reduction in life of components caused by daily cycling and fast starts. Advanced modeling techniques demonstrate HRSG startup ramp rates can be accelerated without compromising equipment life.
By Horst Hack, Zhen Fan, and Andrew Seltzer, Foster Wheeler North America Corp. and Javier Alvarez, Foster Wheeler ES, Spain

atural gasfired combined cycle (NGCC) technology is an attractive choice for new power plants because of its high fuel efficiency, operating flexibility (quick starts and rapid load changes), relatively short planning and construction period, and relatively low emissions and capital cost. The large-scale installation of wind farms and solar electric installations has created a new opportunity for advanced NGCC technology used as backup to these intermittent resources. A combined cycle plant can quickly increase (or decrease) its electric output to replace that lost during periods when the wind doesnt blow or the sun doesnt shine. However, the capability of the combustion turbine (CT) to perform rapid load changes and fast startups must also be reflected in the design of the heat recovery steam generator (HSRG). NGCC plants used to back up renewable sources will experience increased cycling operation. The most critical factors during startup are the rapid increase of key operating parameters, including temperature, pressure, and mass flow. In the past, the cold startup time of a typical HRSG ranged from 45 minutes to 2 hoursor more. During the startup period, HRSG components, especially the steam drum, are subject to high thermal stress that is generated by the uneven distribution of temperature. The increased level of component stress often has an adverse impact on component life, often requiring upgraded materials. Earlier work identified the effects of cyclic operation on the HRSG, particularly the life of key components subjected to thermal transients. The design of modern HRSGs includes many features to limit the stresses resulting from these thermal transients. Increased boiler operating pressures have required HRSG designers to increase component thickness to resist the added pressure stress. However, the more robust components cause an increase in the thermal transient stress experienced by

the component. Dynamic thermal transient analysis, incorporating dynamic modeling and thermal hydraulic analysis, can be used to determine the component stresses and resulting fatigue life of components. The most highly affected components include superheater and reheater outlet headers and manifolds, high-pressure steam drum, downcomers, and risers. Customer demand for greater NGCC operating flexibility has led to new designs for example, GEs recent FlexEfficiency combined cycle plant designs. (See GE Develops FlexEfficiency 50 for Increased Operational Flexibility in the December 2011 issue, online at The FlexEfficiency design is able to rapidly increase or decrease its power output in response to fluctuations in wind and solar power, enabling the connection of more renewable resources to the power grid. One of the key features of this new NGCC configuration is its ability to reach full load in less than 30 minutes from a cold start.

ing a more consistent HRSG ramp rate. The typical control system can be improved in several areas:

Ramp up the HRSG immediately upon CT startup. Send a small amount of CT exhaust gas through the HRSG while sending the remainder to a bypass stack. Replace manual adjustments of the bypass damper during startup with automatic control. Incorporate feedback philosophy, using the desired steam drum ramp rate to control the bypass damper. Minimize CT hold time during HRSG startup hold. Hold the CT with the inlet guide vane wide open at the allowed maximum temperature for the HRSG. Optimize the use of bypass damper to help accelerate CT startup.

Improving Plant Operations

Optimizing operation of the HRSG within an NGCC plant requires a combination of robust component design, rigorous calculation methodologies, and implementation of advanced control systems. All three requirements must be addressed in every HRSG design. For example, the performance of an HRSG may not be optimal due to overly conservative operation in order to extend component life. The result is often inconsistent or low ramp rates used throughout the startup, resulting in relatively long startup times. In such cases, faster startup times are possible while maintaining acceptable fatigue cycle life of the HRSG components. The case study presented later in the article will demonstrate the analysis used to select an appropriate ramp rate. Optimizing operation of the control system can also accelerate NGCC startup by

This list is not exhaustive but must be added to or modified for plant-specific details. However, the common factor is that any change in operation must be thoroughly assessed to avoid any potential impact on HRSG component fatigue life. A rigorous analysis methodology must be employed to quantify the impact of operational changes and when providing guidance on the operating methods to be used by plant staff.

Analysis Methodology
The analysis methodology is complex and must be adapted to site-specific equipment and requirements. It includes an overall NGCC plant simulationincluding HRSG, CT, and steam turbine (ST); evaporator sub-model simulation; and fatigue cycle life analysis incorporating the advanced startup methodology and features, as described above. System Analysis. First, ProTRAX software is used to simulate the overall system that includes the evaporator, superheater, economizer banks, duct burner, feedwater system, CTs, and STs. The CT is modeled as a boundary condition module that provides the
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CT outlet conditions (temperature and flow rate) for the HRSG model. The ProTRAX model dynamically calculates steam temperatures, pressures, and flow rates as functions of time, based on a given plant startup procedure. The analysis in the case study described in the next section focused on the cold and warm HRSG startup scenarios because these have the greatest impact on the operation and fatigue cycle life. Evaporator Analysis. Next, a one-dimensional THTNET (Thermal-Hydraulic Transient NETwork) model of the evaporator downcomers, risers, feeders, heat transfer tubes, and steam drum is constructed using Foster Wheelers proprietary in-house software. The evaporator flue gas inlet temperature and flow rate and steam-side drum pressure are obtained as functions of time from the HRSG system model. Of primary interest are individual riser outlet conditions (temperature, flow rate, steam quality, and heat transfer coefficient) and drum water conditions (temperature and level). Cycle Life Calculations. Finally, a screening analysis of the headers and drums is used to determine the most critical components from the consideration of thermal cycle fatigue. Previous analyses of similar HRSG configurations by Foster Wheeler have determined the riser connections to the steam drums to be the most susceptible areas during startup transients. Fatigue life evaluations are performed for these riserto-drum connections. A finite element analysis of the drumto-riser junction is performed for three startup conditions, at two ramp rates for each condition. These startup conditions are simulated by a transient thermal analysis, followed by a stress analysis. A general purpose finite element analysis program is used in these calculations. The variation of steam temperature and the film coefficients applied during the transients is obtained from dynamic analysis of the HRSG and the THTNET modeling results. Temperature and stress results obtained by the finite element analysis are used to determine the fatigue life of the selected HRSG components. The analysis presumes a number of assumptions. For example, all welds are assumed to be ideal, full-penetration welds. The analysis considers only elastic material effects, and any effects due to hightemperature elastic-plastic creep are not included in the present analysis. Local thermal stresses are analyzed, and the stresses due to thermal expansion of tubes and pipes are not included. The deadweight stresses due to loads from the piping on the nozzle were neglected because proper design can minimize these loads.

The temperature and thermal stress calculations obtained by the finite element analysis are then post-processed to determine the fatigue life of the selected components. Pressure stresses are added to the thermal stresses. The Von Mises equivalent of the total stresses is used in the fatigue calculations. The fatigue life evaluation is based upon methods described in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section VIII, Division 2. The fatigue properties of the materials are obtained from the ASME code. The results present the fatigue damage incurred for each condition. Total fatigue damage over the plant life can be determined be summing the number of cycles of each type of startup, multiplied by the fatigue damage of that particular startup condition.

Application Example
To illustrate the methodology, the impact of fast startup on an existing HRSG design and its normal operation was evaluated, including effects upon natural circulation, thermal performance, and cyclic fatigue life. The purpose of the analysis, abstracted from a recently completed study, was to provide guidance for improving startup times, consistent with minimal impact upon cycle life. Dynamic simulation and life-cycle analysis were performed on the plants HRSG, which was designed and supplied by Foster Wheeler. The primary goal of the analysis was to accelerate the cold startup, above the rates previously used by the plant (an average of 80F/hr), while continuing to maintain acceptable component cycle life.

System Analysis. A model of the existing operating HRSG was created using ProTRAX simulation software. The case study plant is equipped with a single-pressure HRSG with supplementary firing and a bypass damper. The HRSG is also configured with an economizer and primary and secondary superheaters. Data collected during a typical cold HRSG startup is illustrated in Figure 1. For more accurate control, another control loop was added to the model to maintain a given drum temperature ramp rate, which was achieved by manipulating the opening of the gas diverter damper in conjunction with opening the steam supply valve. Using this control model, different startup scenarios were simulated and evaluated for different initial conditions and different CT and HRSG ramp options. Parameters affecting HRSG startup performance include the CT ramp rate and hold conditions, HRSG ramp rate and startup condition, and CT and HRSG initial conditions. To reduce the time for cold startup, the rate of drum water temperature rise was increased to 300F/hr, as shown in Figure 2. During this scenario, part of the hot flue gas from the CT was diverted to the HRSG at the beginning of startup, and the ST and CT were ramped together to full load. To minimize plant startup time, a properly tuned control loop maintained the ramp rate at the maximum allowable value. Fast ramping of the CT and holding it at a high loading condition will generate more power during startup. However, the CT ramp rate is limited by the

1. Typical cold HRSG startup. The red and green curves show the top-to-bottom drum
temperature differential at the left and right ends of the drum, respectively. The blue curve describes the rate of change of the drum water temperature (F/hr), which is one of the key parameters controlled during HRSG startup. The black curve illustrates steam drum pressure change during startup. Source: Foster Wheeler North America Corp. DT drum (F) 160 140 120 DT drum (F) DT/dt (F/hr) Drum pressure (psig) 1,400 1,200 1,000 800 80 600 60 40 20 0 4:48 AM 400 200 0 12:00 AM
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DT or DT/dt (F, F/hr)


7:12 AM

9:36 AM 12:00 PM

2:24 PM

4:48 PM

7:12 PM

9:36 PM

Pressure (psig)


2. Cold startup. The dynamic response of the modeled NGCC during a cold startup is illustrated. Source: Foster Wheeler North America Corp. 3.0 2.5 1,500

3. Evaporator model.

The nodes selected in the high-pressure evaporator for the THTNET model are illustrated. The evaporator consists of many pipe loops connected to the steam drum in parallel. Courtesy: Foster Wheeler North America Corp.

CT flow 1,000

Flow (million lb/hr)

2.0 CT temperature 1.5 Drum pressure 1.0 0.5 Steam flow 0 0 60 120 180 Time (minutes) 240 300 Drum temperature


0 360

dynamic response of the HRSG to generate steam and to maintain the tube metal temperatures below the design limits. Evaporator Analysis. THTNET is an in-house computer code developed by Foster Wheeler that performs one-dimensional transient thermal/hydraulic analysis of a flow heat transfer network through finite

difference techniques. The program has the capability to model system components such as tanks, shell-tube heat exchangers, and control valves. The THTNET model of the analyzed highpressure (HP) evaporator is shown in Figure 3. It consists of 170 steam/water nodes and 120 flue gas nodes, for a total of 290 nodes. The

T (F) or P (psia)

model begins at the steam drum, follows the fluid flow through the downcomers, into the transfer piping, up through the feeders, into the feeder headers, through the heat transfer

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tubes, into the riser header, through the risers, and into the steam drum and separators. Each individual riser and feeder is modeled. The Chisholm correlation is used to determine water/steam slip. The modified Martinelli-Nelson correlation is used to determine two-phase pressure drop. The thermal inertia of the tubes and fins is simulated by specifying the actual tube inside and outside radii and multiplying the metal density by the ratio of the finned tube weight (tube + fins) to the bare tube weight. Heat transfer coefficients in the riser are calculated as the greater of the natural convection and forced convection (liquid) coefficients. The forced convection heat transfer coefficients are calculated from the DittusBoelter correlation for fully developed turbulent pipe flow. The natural convection heat transfer correlation is calculated from the turbulent vertical wall correlation.
Drum and Downcomer Analysis. A one-dimensional model was constructed of the drum using the in-house Foster Wheeler computer code CONDRAD. Heat transfer coefficients in the lower drum (below the water level) are calculated from the turbulent horizontal wall correlation (cold plate facing up). The heat transfer coefficient in the upper drum (above the water level) is calculated from the laminar film condensation correlation. Boundary Conditions. The evaporator flue gas inlet temperature and flow rate and drum pressure are obtained as functions of time from the HRSG system model. Feedwater flow rate is added to maintain the drum water level near the normal water level by the model controller. A cold startup with the 300F/hr drum water temperature rise was one of the scenarios analyzed. Figure 4 presents the riser outlet quality versus time for some of the eight ris-

4. Riser outlet quality. The steam quality in different riser outlets is illustrated during a
cold plant startup using a 300F/hr drum water temperature rise. Saturated steam has a quality of 1.0. Source: Foster Wheeler North America Corp. Cold 0.16 0.14 0.12 4th 6th Hot

0.1 0.08 0.06 0.04 0.02 0 0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 Time (sec) 10,000 12,000 14,000

5. Efficient heat transfer. The internal heat transfer coefficients for the risers and the drum during the same startup scenario described in Figure 4 are shown. Source: Foster Wheeler North America Corp.
Riser 1 (cold) Riser 3 Riser 5 Riser 7 Upper drum Lower drum 4,500 4,000 3,500 3,000 2,500 2,000 1,500 1,000 500 0

ers for this scenario. The first riser is on the cold end, while the eighth one is on the hot end. Figure 5 presents internal heat transfer coefficients for the risers and the drum. Cycle Life Calculations. The HRSG is subjected to cyclic load changes, especially during accelerated startups. The temperature gradient that exists between the inside diameter intersections of the drum riser and the drum outside diameter causes thermal stresses in the component and combines with pressure stresses (the steam drum is at operating pressure) to cause fatigue damage. The maximum Von Mises stresses of the combined (temperature and pressure) load case were used to determine the fatigue life for each case, as well as the fatigue damage per cycle. Total stresses, using the combined thermal and pressure loads, were used in the fatigue calculations. The fatigue life evaluation is based on the analysis methodology described in ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, Section VIII, Division 2, Appendix 5. A preliminary screening analysis of the headers and drums was made to determine the most critical components of the HRSG from the consideration of thermal cycle fatigue. The components consisted of HP headers and drums and their connection to thin-walled tubing and piping. The riser connections to the steam drums were found to be the most highly stressed areas during a cold startup transient. Based on the results of the preliminary screening analysis, the connection between the 5-inch riser and the drum was identified as the component and location most susceptible to thermal cycle fatigue. The thermal transient models were run to determine the temperature distribution in the drum-riser connection, up to the end of the main startup ramp. The thermal fatigue analysis that follows is focused on this particular drum-riser connection. Four startup transient scenarios were selected for analysis of the drum-riser connection using a general purpose finite element program:

Steam quality

Heat transfer coefficient (Btu/hr ft2 F)

Cold startup at 200F/hr Cold startup at 300F/hr Warm startup at 200F/hr Warm startup at 300F/hr



6,000 8,000 Time (sec)




Each startup condition was simulated by a transient thermal analysis, which was followed by a stress analysis at the drum-riser connection at the specific time during startup when the maximum thermal stresses occurred. The stress analysis included the combined effects of thermal and pressure loadings. The temperature and stress results obtained by the finite element analysis were then used to determine the fatigue life of the
POWER June 2013



selected HRSG components. The variation of steam temperature and pressure, and the heat transfer film coefficients during the various startup conditions, were obtained from the dynamic analysis of HRSG and the THTNET modeling results. Results of the transient thermal stress analysis (temperatures and stresses) of the drum-riser connection for cold startup with 300F/hr ramp rate are shown in Figures 6 and 7.
Determine Allowable Fatigue Cycles.

6. Worst-case temperature.

The partial section view shows the wall of the drum on the left and the tube wall to the right. The maximum drum riser temperature experienced during each startup transient was found at 5,351 seconds into the startup. Source: Foster Wheeler North America Corp.

The transient thermal stress analyses just presented focused only on the startup portion of the cycle for a single component, the drum-riser connection. The HRSG experiences a variety of other transients, including cold starts, warm starts, shutdowns, and rapid load changes. In evaluating the fatigue life of one or more components, the designer must consider the stresses over the entire cycle, which vastly complicates the analysis. For this case study, the shutdown portion of the cycle was also considered in determining the fatigue life of the component. To bracket the fatigue damage results, two scenarios were considered: a smooth shutdown and a shutdown that is as severe as a fast startup. For a smooth shutdown, it is assumed that the metal temperatures drop gradually over a long period of time without inducing significant additional stresses. In this case, the stress range is equal to the startup maximum stress value. For the case of a shutdown as severe as startup, it is assumed that the thermal stresses are reversed and, thus, the total stress range is double the maximum stress value during startup. The effects of local structural discontinuities must also be accounted for in the fatigue analysis. While the finite element model does account for some of the geometric stress concentration effects, an additional factor is included to account for discontinuities (such as weld connections and surface irregularities) that are not included in the model. A conservative fatigue strength reduction factor of 5 was applied to the finite element stress results. The smooth shutdown case assumes the situation in which the HRSG is bottled up, to maintain temperature and pressure. The severe shutdown case represents an operating upset, including, for example, a significant post-purge through the HRSG during CT shutdown. Both smooth and severe shutdown cases were paired with the cold and warm startup cases (200F/hr to 300F/hr) to form a complete startup-shutdown cycle. In actual operation, the HRSG experiences a combination of different startup types (including cold, warm, hot, load changes, and CT simple cycle). In order to
June 2013 POWER

7. Worst-case stress. Under the same conditions described for Figure 6, the worstcase drum-riser stress at 5,351 seconds into the startup is illustrated. Source: Foster Wheeler North America Corp.

Table 1. Typical distribution of annual plant startups. Source: Foster

Wheeler North America Corp. Startup type Cold Warm Hot Number of starts per year 9 27 260

accumulate the damage caused by the multiple types of startups, it is useful to look at fatigue damage per cycle for each startup type. Normally, cold and warm startups are the largest contributors to reduced HRSG fatigue life. For this case study, a typical annual plant startup/shutdown distribution was used (Table 1).



The effect of the shutdowns must be included in the assessment of the total damage for each cycle type investigated. In summing the fatigue damage per cycle associated with each type of startup, assumptions must be made about the nature of each corresponding shutdown. There is a significant difference in the damage per cycle for smooth versus severe shutdown. As a part of this work, several different shutdown assumptions were evaluated, including the following conservative cases. The conservative case assumes that each shutdown is as severe as the startup. Alternatively, a realistic severe case was examined, where 75% of the shutdowns are severe and 25% are smooth. This analysis focused on the effects of the cold and warm starts, neglecting the fatigue life contributions of the hot restarts and load fluctuations. The top portion of Table 2 presents the results of the realistic severe case. The predicted component life, under the assumption that shutdowns are 75% severe and 25% smooth, are shown. The bottom portion of Table 2 reflects the conservative case, which shows a corresponding predicted component life under the assumption that all shutdowns are as severe as the startups. The life shown in these tables corresponds to the

Table 2. Fatigue life. The analysis results show the component remaining life of the drumriser connection under realistic severe and conservative operating scenarios. Note the sensitivity of the fatigue life of the component to the analysis assumptions. Temperature and thermal stress calculations obtained by the finite element analysis were post-processed to determine the fatigue life of the selected components. The analysis assumes that advanced HRSG controls are used to reduce startup time. Source: Foster Wheeler North America Corp. Remaining component life (years) 33.7 32.6 Minimum reduction in startup time (%) 9.7 24.7

Startup case 200F/hr cold and warm 300F/hr cold and warm

Realistic case: 100% accelerated starts; 75% severe/25% smooth shutdowns

Conservative case: 100% accelerated starts; 100% severe shutdowns 200F/hr cold and warm 300F/hr cold and warm 26.3 25.5 9.7 24.7

time when total fatigue damage equals 100% and crack initiation (leading to tube failure) is predicted. It should be noted, however, that ASME design fatigue curves, which are the basis for this analysis, include an additional safety margin to account for material property variations. The fatigue life predictions show that an acceptable component life is achievable even with accelerated HRSG startup. After adding more advanced HRSG controls for

the HRSG, the plant startup time was reduced by up to a third with an acceptable component life.

Horst Hack (, Zhen Fan (, and Andrew Seltzer (andrew_seltzer@fwc. com) are with Foster Wheeler North America Corp., Perryville Corporate Park, Hampton, N.J. Javier Alvarez (francisco. is with Foster Wheeler ES, Madrid, Spain.

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Repower or Build a New Combined Cycle Unit?

URS recently performed a combined cycle repowering study to determine the feasibility and economics of repowering an existing steam turbine that went into service in the 1950s. The competing option was building a new combined cycle unit. The results of the study provide insight for others considering the same alternatives.
By R.B Boulay, PE, and M.S. Massoudi, PE, PhD, URS Corp.

RS recently completed an engineering study for a Midwestern utility with the goal of identifying the most cost-effective gas-fired plant that could be feasibly added to its electricity supply system. Two design alternatives were identified: repowering a 1950s-vintage steam turbine that was originally built as part of a coal-fired plant or building a 2 x 1 combined cycle plant based on two different FClass combustion turbines (CTs). The new build would have to produce a minimum 560 MW net. The levelized cost of electricity from the repowered and new plant options was compared and the best option was identified.

ing option be selected. Also, the existing steam turbine condenser uses once-through cooling. However, new thermal discharge limits would limit its reuse, so the repowered project must also convert the existing once-through cooling system to a closedloop cooling system (cooling tower).
Reuse the Existing Steam Turbine.

One major design challenge when repowering an existing plant is to match the steam production capability of the CT and HRSG with the steam needs of the existing steam turbine. In this project, the repowering option requires modifications to the existing steam turbine, such as blanking off all the existing feedwater

put. These factors can be maximum allowable reheat pressure, steam pressure at the crossover, maximum allowable last-stage bucket (LSB) flow, or the generator rating. Floating throttle pressure will be lower than the design value because of the reduced throttle flow, and it will typically be lower than the optimum value for combined cycle operation. This low throttle pressure can be corrected by replacing the steam path in the HP turbine. The intermediate-pressure (IP) steam path is on the same rotor shaft, so it can be replaced with minimal additional cost when replacing the HP steam path. Because turbine modifications are usually required to

Repowering Options
Repowering entails removing and replacing the steam generation portion of an existing power plant with CTs and heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs). The steam produced by the new, high-efficiency gas-fired equipment is sent to the existing steam turbine to produce electricity. The advantage, beyond the obvious construction cost savings, is that the existing steam turbine (ST) and its auxiliary systems are operational, and there is a generator electrical connection. The existing ST in this case was a 180-MW-class, 1,800-psig unit with 1,050F main steam and 1,000F reheat steam. Site-specific factors often restrict the number of design options, and this project was no different. For example, the land area available for repowering at this site is very constrained and could accommodate only a single combustion turbine. A single Siemens SGT6-8000H was selected for this evaluation because of its proven design and high performance, although the Mitsubishi M501GAC and GE 7FA 7-Series should be seriously considered during preliminary design, should the repower36

One major design challenge when repowering an existing plant is to match the steam production capability of the CT and HRSG with the steam needs of the existing steam turbine.
heater extractions and introducing a lowpressure (LP) admission at the crossover point. Otherwise, the steam paths (essentially the rotating and stationary parts that steam contacts as it passes through the ST) remain unchanged. The steam supply modifications are required because the repowered ST is generally not able to pass the original design high-pressure (HP) steam flow through the entire turbine because the extraction ports are closed. The net effect is a large increase in LP steam flow that must be accommodated in the steam cycle design. The unit may or may not be able to reach its rated electrical output, depending on which steam cycle parameter limits its

maintain the correct axial thrust balance and the original steam paths may be suffering degradation from age, replacing the steam paths is often cost-effective. Condenser modifications will generally be required to provide oxygen removal from the condensate. Adding trays below the tubes and relocating the makeup header to the top of the condenser shell will generally provide an acceptable oxygen level of 7 ppb. Duct Fire HRSGs. The HRSG was designed with duct firing to maximize the steam cycle output. In many repowering designs the limiting factor for steam cycle output is the flow capacity of the LSBs; steam flow through the LSBs increases
POWER June 2013


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Table 1. Estimated steam cycle performance of the repowered plant using the existing steam turbine. The repowered plant performance is based on the Siemens
SGT6-8000H using average annual ambient conditions. No modifications to original steam turbine steam paths were made other than closing off of extraction ports. Source: URS Corp. Operating point Duct firing (%) Steam turbine output (%) Throttle flow (%) Throttle pressure (psig) Hot reheat flow (%) Hot reheat pressure (psig) Crossover pressure (psig) LSB flow (%) Hotwell flow (%) Notes: NA = not applicable, LSB = last-stage blades. Repowered 0 70 55 1,012 65 310 40 92 76 Repowered 100 89 75 1,360 84 407 50 110 92 Original configuration NA 100 100 1,800 100 476 50 100 100

Table 2. Estimated steam cycle performance of the repowered plant using the existing steam turbine with upgraded HP/IP steam paths. Source:
URS Corp. Operating point Duct firing (%) STG output (%) Throttle flow (%) Throttle pressure (psig) Hot reheat flow (%) Hot reheat pressure (psig) Crossover pressure (psig) LSB flow (%) Hotwell flow (%) Repowered 0 73 53 1,255 63 345 39 91 76 Repowered 100 96 78 1,800 87 476 50 114 92 Original configuration NA 100 100 1,800 100 476 50 100 100

Notes: NA = not applicable, LSB = last-stage blades, STG = steam turbine generator.

Table 3. Estimated overall performance for the repowered 1 x 1 combined cycles. Repowered performance is based on the Siemens SGT6-8000H combustion
turbine generator, with the effect of duct burner use and steam path upgrades shown. Source: URS Corp. STG HP/IP steam paths Duct burning (%) Original 0 Original 100 New HP/IP 0 New HP/IP 100

Plant power generation (MW) CTG STG Auxiliaries Net output Combustion turbine Duct burners Total fuel consumption Net heat rate (Btu/kWh) 270.6 124.8 11.1 384.3 2,570.50 0 2,570.50 6,688 270.6 157.5 12 416.1 2,570.50 331.2 2,901.70 6,973 270.6 129.3 11.2 388.7 2,570.50 0 2,570.50 6,613 270.6 171.3 12.4 429.5 2,570.50 398.7 2,969.20 6,913

Fuel consumption (MMBtu/hr)

Notes: Fuel calorific value used is HHV. CTG = combustion turbine generator, HP = high pressure, IP = intermediate pressure, STG = steam turbine generator.

from the original design when the LP turbine steam extraction points are eliminated. However, this unit had ample LSB capacity, so duct firing was set at a level where the crossover pressure matches that of the original steam turbine heat balance. Maintaining constant pressure at the crossover requires the crossover steam flow rate to remain close to the value set as part of the original unit heat balance. Table 1 compares steam cycle performance for the repowered configuration with the original fossil unit parameters. Repowered operation is based on annual average ambient conditions with the combustion turbine at full load. Operating points are shown for the unfired HRSG, which provides the best efficiency, and for the maximum-fired condition to produce maximum output. HP and reheat pressures are considerably lower than those of the original steam turbine heat balance. The maximum LSB flow has increased by 10% but is still within the load limit of the LSBs. Hotwell flow has decreased relative to the original heat balance due to eliminating the feedwater heater drains that used to flow into the condenser, allowing reuse of the condensate pumps without modification. Make Steam Path Upgrades. One disadvantage of the repowered configuration is that it employs the original steam turbine and condenser, which may have an adverse effect on plant reliability. Analysis of North American Electric Reliability Corp. data on plant reliability suggests that an equivalent forced outage rate (EFOR) of 4.0% should be expected for the repowered configuration and 3.6% for the new combined cycle plant option. Replacement of the HP/IP steam paths for the repowered option should move the EFOR close to that of a new installation. The drop in HP and reheat steam pressures results in a loss of combined cycle efficiency, which can be remedied by replacing the HP and IP steam paths with modern technology. Several suppliers are able to provide new steam paths that will fit within the original outer casings. Also, the replacement steam paths can be specified to keep HP and reheat steam pressures near their optimum values. An additional benefit is that the new nozzles and blades are designed with the benefit of modern computational fluid dynamics technology and have expansion efficiencies substantially higher than those of units designed 60 years ago. Table 2 shows the expected performance for the repowered configuration with new HP/IP turbine steam paths. LSB flow is 14% higher than that of the original fossil
POWER June 2013


heat balance but still within design limits. Table 3 shows overall performance for the two repowering options. This shows that the upgraded HP/IP turbine steam paths improve output by about 13 MW and reduce heat rate about 1%. As explained above, the crossover pressure limit restricted the maximum duct-firing rate. One means of increasing output that was evaluated by this analysis was to bypass a fraction of the condensate around the LP economizer directly to the LP drum. This reduced the amount of LP steam admission and hence allowed greater duct firing, more HP steam flow, and increased output without exceeding the crossover pressure limit, but with an increase in heat loss to the stack and a heat rate penalty (Figure 1).

1. Heat rate of the repowered plant configuration alternatives. Repowered

performance is based on the Siemens SGT6-8000H combustion turbine operating at full load at the average annual ambient temperature with variable duct firing. URS Corp. Existing HP/IP steam path 7,000 6,950 Fired to 50 psig crossover pressure with LP economizer bypass Upgraded HP/IP steam path

Net heat rate, Btu/kWh (HHV)

6,900 6,850 6,800 6,750 6,700 6,650 6,600 6,550 6,500 380 385 390 395 400 405 410 415 420 425 430 435 Unfired Fired to 50 psig crossover pressure without LP economizer bypass

New Combined Cycle Options

There is sufficient space at a corner of the plant property for a new 2 x 1 F-Class combined cycle. Conceptual designs were developed based on the GE 7FA 3-Series and 7FA 5-Series combustion turbines. Alstom, Mitsubishi, and Siemens also offer suitable units that should be considered if the new plant option is pursued. The minimum net output of the new plant options was 560 MW, at the average annual ambient temperature. The overall performance of these two plants is summarized in Table 4. The GE 7FA 3-Series based plant is able to achieve

Net output (MW)

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POWER June 2013

the 560 MW minimum net rating with a small amount of duct firing, while the 7FA 5-Series plant exceeds the standard without duct firing. The heat rate of the new plant is slightly higher than that of the repowered options because the 2 x 1 plants are based on current F-Class technology rather than the H-Class unit used as a basis for the repowered unit. However, the 2 x 1 plants offer substantially higher power output and the 2 x 1 configurations allow greater turndown range for part-load operation. The plant based on the new 7FA 5-Series provides about 70 MW more output at essentially the same unfired heat rate as the 7FA 3-Series. Therefore, the 7FA 5-Series was selected as the basis for developing the capital and operating cost estimates.

The 7FA 5-Series was selected as the basis for developing the capital and operating cost estimates.
construction costs, engineering, startup and testing costs, and contingencies. It excludes taxes, interest during construction, costs to obtain permits, and owners engineer cost. The TPC estimates were based on first quarter 2013 dollars.

New 2 x 1 7FA.05 combined cycle: $678 million or $1,124/kW, based on 603 MW annual average power rating.

Capital Cost Estimates

URS prepared total plant cost (TPC) estimates for three options. A TPC estimate includes equipment costs, labor costs, indirect

Repower existing steam turbine unit: $407 million or $979/kW, based on 416.1 MW annual average power rating. Repower existing steam turbine unit and upgrade HP/IP steam paths: $414 million or $965/kW, based on 429.5 MW annual average power rating.

Table 4. Estimated performance of a new 2 x 1 combined cycle. Note that the 7FA 3-Series option requires a slight amount of duct firing to achieve the minimum plant net output of 560 MW, while the 7FA.05-based plant does not. Source: URS Corp.
Combustion turbines Duct firing (%) 2 x 1 7FA 3-Series 0 Plant power generation (MW) Total CTG output (MW) STG output (MW) Total auxiliary loads and losses (MW) Net output (MW) Combined CTG fuel Combined HRSG fuel Net plant heat rate 361.6 186.4 15.3 532.6 Fuel consumption (MMBtu/hr) 3,588 0 6,737 3,588 244 6,835 4,065 NA 6,740 361.6 215.2 16.1 560.6 412.2 208.2 17.4 603.1 2 x 1 7FA 3-Series 100 2 x 1 7FA 5-Series NA

It is interesting to observe that the cost of the steam paths upgrade increases TPC by $7 million for the repowered option but reduces the plant installed cost per kilowatt. The repowering with steam path upgrades option also improved the plant heat rate and extends the life of the steam turbine. The cost per kilowatt for the new combined cycle plant is about 15% higher than for the repowered option. This cost penalty will be offset to some extent by reduced maintenance on the new steam turbine and new condenser and a slightly lower heat rate.

Cost of Electricity Estimates

The cost of electricity was estimated for each of the three options over an assumed 30-year plant life. Operation and maintenance costs were derived from a URS database for similar plants, and life-cycle fuel cost was estimated using the Department of Energy Annual Energy Outlook forecast of natural gas prices. An annual capacity factor of 50% was assumed for each analysis. The results of the case study show that repowering of the existing steam unit provided better life-cycle economics than construction of a new combined cycle plant. Table 5 shows the cost components that form the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) estimate. The repowered options show a LCOE advantage of about 5% relative to the new combined cycle. The benefits of lower construction cost and the higher efficiency of the H-Class combustion turbine technology for the repowered unit outweigh the lower efficiency of the existing steam turbine. Many site-specific constraints and design and construction decisions made in the course of the study led to this conclusion. A key finding was that the investment in upgrading the existing turbines HP/IP steam paths with modern technology is a good investment. Your site-specific factors may lead you to a different conclusion, even for a similar plant.

Notes: NA = not applicable. Fuel calorific value used is HHV. CTG = combustion turbine generator, HRSG = heat recovery steam generator, STG = steam turbine generator.

Table 5. Levelized cost of electricity analysis. The analysis is based on a 30-year plant life and operation at an average annual 50% capacity factor. The repower option with upgraded steam path was found to have a 5% cost of electricity advantage. Source: URS Corp.
Configuration Levelized cost of electricity components ($/MWh) Fuel cost Fixed charges Variable O&M Fixed O&M Levelized COE ($/MWh) 1 x 1 Repower Existing STG $82.62 $28.53 $7.49 $4.54 $123.17 1 x 1 Repower New HP/IP $81.82 $28.39 $7.49 $4.54 $122.24 New 2 x 1 NGCC $82.02 $34.76 $7.65 $3.57 $128.00

Notes: STG = steam turbine generator, HP = high pressure, LP = low pressure, NGCC = natural gas combined cycle.
June 2013 POWER

R.B Boulay, PE, and M.S. Massoudi, PE, PhD, URS Corp., Energy & Construction Division.


Troubleshooting and Solving Poor Control Loop Performance

Only through proper troubleshooting and then solving the underlying problems can control loop performance be improved. Process design certainly plays a role in control loop performance, but experience has shown that the majority of control loops can perform betterprovided that the root cause of the poor performance is found and corrected.
Jacques F. Smuts, PhD, PE, OptiControls

ost power plants have a few control loops that never seem to control satisfactorily. These loops may oscillate for seemingly no reason or deviate far from their set points during load ramps and disturbances, often overshooting their set points afterward. Tuners can spend many hours trying to tune these challenging control loops, but the loops often remain problematic. Poor control performance makes itself evident primarily when a controlled variable (process variable) deviates excessively from its target value (set point). Excessive and/or unnecessary deviations from set point can result from oscillations, sluggish control loop response, and excessive measurement noise. Each of these can have several causes (Table 1). Oscillations are periodic deviations from set point, frequently intermixed with some random behavior (Figure 1). Sluggish response is a general slowness in the loops ability to recover from disturbances or follow set point changes. Noise is random movement in the process variable. For more information on using performance-monitoring software to improve loop performance, see my earlier article, Monitoring Control Loop Performance, in the February 2012 issue, available at

furnace pressure can oscillate because of a partially blocked rotating air heater. If a control loops set point oscillates, it will most likely cause the entire loop to oscillate. The cause of oscillations should be traced back to the origin of the loops set point. For example, if a desuperheater outlet temperature control loop oscillates because its set point is oscillating, the problem likely lies with the main steam temperature controller producing the set point. To verify this, put the main steam temperature controller in manual and see if the desuperheater outlet temperature controller stops oscillating. If it does, troubleshooting should be focused on the main steam temperature controller.

Table 1. Common problems and possible causes of poor control performance. Source: OptiControls
Problem Oscillations Possible causes Valve/damper stiction Controller tuning Cyclical interaction Deadband Process issues Sluggish response Controller tuning Excessive filtering Improper disturbance handling Deadband

Interactions Causing Oscillations

There are three principal factors that trigger oscillation of boiler control loops: interaction between loops, stiction, and deadband. Cyclical Interactions. Tightly coupled boiler control loops with similar dynam-


Incorrect measurement technology Improper installation of measurement device Turbulence or volatility Insufficient filtering

1. Random moves. Oscillations are cyclical deviations from the set point and often contain
a component of randomness. Other control response problems include sluggish response and noise. Source: OptiControls Process variable 55.0 Noise Sluggish response 50.0 Set point

Troubleshooting Oscillations
Oscillations can originate from within the control loop or may be caused by external factors. Oscillations may also be a result of a cyclical interaction between two or more control loops. To narrow down the possible causes of the oscillation, the controller should be put in manual mode to see if the oscillation stops. If the oscillation persists when the controller is in manual mode, the oscillation originates from outside the loop. Oscillation analysis of interacting loops and equipment should then be done to find the root cause. For example, steam generator



35.0 Oscillations 30.0 11:00


POWER June 2013



ics can begin to oscillate against each other. A good example of this is feedwater flow controlled with a variable-speed pump and differential pressure controlled with a feedwater control valve. The pump and valve each affect both the flow and the pressure, and a cyclical interaction between the flow and pressure control loops can easily occur. Cyclical interaction can be aggravated by aggressive tuning, for example when using quarter-amplitude-damping tuning methods, such as the Ziegler-Nichols or Cohen-Coon tuning rules without reducing the calculated controller gain by at least 50%. The simplest technique for solving problems with cyclical interactions is to tune one of the interacting control loops to produce an overdamped response. The IMC (Lambda) tuning method can be used to obtain very stable control loops and has been proven to help settle down cyclical interactions. Because a boiler consists of many interactive sub-processes, one oscillating loop can cause several other loops on the boiler to oscillate with it. The loops will all oscillate with the same period of oscillation. Historical trends or process analysis software can be used to identify all the loops on a boiler oscillating with the same period. The prob-

2. Example of a stick-slip cycle. Source: OptiControls

Process variable Set point Controller output

lem loop can be isolated through knowledge of the boiler and its interactions, by looking at phase shifts between oscillations, or by placing likely culprit loops in manual one at a time. For example, an oscillating reheat steam temperature control loop can cause oscillations in the generator load, throttle pressure, fuel, and drum level controllers. If the reheat temperature controller is put in manual control mode, the oscillations in all loops will

cease. The reheat temperature control loop should be analyzed further. Note that this scenario is different from cyclical interactions in which two or more control loops interact directly with each other in a cyclical fashion. In the case of a cyclical interaction, any one of the participating control loops put in manual will cause all loops to stop oscillating. Stiction. One of the leading causes of oscillations is stiction, short for static friction. When there is stiction, the final control



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element (for example, the control valve or damper) is mechanically sticky. The combination of a controllers integral action and a sticky control element causes an oscillation called a stick-slip cycle (Figure 2). When loop oscillations are caused by stiction, the controller outputs trend often resembles a saw-tooth or triangular wave, while the process variable may look like a square wave or an irregular sine wave. Stiction can be detected by placing the controller in manual mode and making small changes (typically 0.5%) in controller output followed by monitoring the process variable for a resulting change. If the control valve seems to accumulate a few of the controller output changes before the process variable responds to them all at once, the control valve has stiction. Deadband. Deadband in a final control element is a mechanical defect causing a dead zone through which the controller output must change before the control element responds after a change in travel direction. Many control systems also provide an adjustable deadband around a controllers set point. The latter is sometimes used to prevent the controller from reacting to process noise. If an integrating control loop, such as mill or feedwater heater level control, drives a valve or damper directly, and the valve has deadband, the loop will oscillate. An integrating control loop will also oscillate if the controller has a deadband feature that is set wider than the measurement noise band. Both kinds of deadband also reduce the effectiveness with which a controller can eliminate disturbances. Every time the direction of a disturbance changes, the process variable has to traverse the internal deadband before the controller begins responding, and the controller output has to traverse the controllers final control elements deadband before the latter actually begins moving. This causes the control loop to perform sluggishly. The speed of tuning should never be increased to compensate for deadband, because the aggressive tuning remains active after the deadband has been traversed, which can cause stability problems. Deadband in final control elements can severely affect the accuracy of controller tuning, often resulting in overly aggressive tuning. Deadband can be detected with a simple process test consisting of two controller output steps in one direction and one step in the opposite direction with the controller in manual mode (Figure 3). The second and last steps should be the same size to make it easy to visually detect deadband from process trends. If the process variable does not reach the same level after the first and third steps, it indicates the presence of deadband. Final control elements with deadband must be repaired for optimum control.

Tuning Control Loops

Incorrectly tuned control loops can respond sluggishly, or they can overshoot and oscillate significantly. Controller tuning is often done in a trial-and-error way, but this is not nearly as effective as using tuning rules or software. Controller tuning should start with step tests on the process to determine the dominant process characteristics: process gain, dead time, and time constant. Four or more step tests should be done, the results compared, outliers eliminated, and the average used for tuning. If process characteristics change with unit load or operating conditions, gain scheduling should be used. Note that using the IMC tuning method results in stable control loops, but it often leaves a sluggish response to disturbances, especially on slow loops like main steam temperature. Cohen-Coon tuning provides faster disturbance rejection, even with the detuning recommended earlier. Quarter-amplitude-damping tuning methods should not be used because they result in marginally stable loops and oscillatory plants. When tuning control loops, it is important to understand that any control loop can hypothetically be tuned for a slower response, but that is not always the case for a faster response. As a controller is tuned for a progressively faster response, the control loops stability is compromised, and after some point it begins oscillating (Figure 4). A control loops settling time is therefore limited to a certain minimum. No control loop recovering from a disturbance or responding to set point change can settle out faster than this minimum settling time. The minimum settling time is virtually equal to the natural period of the process being controlled. It will take a control loop at least as long as the length of its processs natural period to settle out after a disturbance or set point change. The natural period of a process is determined mostly by its effective
POWER June 2013

3. A deadband test. At time-slice A and B the controller output is at the same level. Because
of deadband, the process variable does not return to the same level. Source: OptiControls Process variable Controller output


4. Tune for response, not speed. A control loop becomes less stable and more oscillatory with increasing speed of response. Source: OptiControls Set point Process variable

Increasingly faster tuning



Table 2. Natural periods of different process types. Source: OptiControls
Process type Dead time >> time constant Dead time time constant Dead time << time constant Integrating process Natural period or minimum settling time 2 dead time 3 dead time 4 dead time 4 dead time

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dead time, but the amount of lag (time-constant) also plays a role (Table 2). Control loops cannot effectively respond to disturbances or set point changes shorter in duration than the loops natural period (or settling time). Although correct tuning methods can go a long way in minimizing the effects of disturbances, if a disturbance occurs faster than the control loop can respond, there is very little the controller can do to reduce its amplitude. Then cascade and feedforward control should be considered.

Noise in Control Loops

Because noise-based deviations occur faster than the loops settling time, it is impossible for the controller to eliminate the noise or even reduce its amplitude. Furnace pressure, with its rapid deviations because of turbulence and unstable combustion, is a good example of this. A controller responding aggressively to noise will likely increase variability. It will also cause unnecessary wear on the final control element, and it may disturb downstream control loops. Assuming the correct measurement technology is being used, and the measurement device is properly installed, the amplitude of noise can often be reduced through filtering the process variable with a first-order lag filter. The filtering should be applied inside the control system (not in a replacement transmitter), either as a setting on the analog input card or in the controller itself. It is important to note that a filter increases the effective dead time in a control loop and therefore increases its minimum settling time. A filter can also hide real process problems and unsafe conditions. Therefore, filtering should be applied only when needed, and then as little of it as possible.

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Jacques F. Smuts, PhD, PE (jsmuts@ is the founder and principal consultant of OptiControls. He has more than 20 years of experience in process control, has trained hundreds of engineers and technicians in the field of process control, and is the author of the book Process Control for Practitioners.
June 2013 POWER 1-877-664-4476

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This report was researched and written by Global Business Reports

Katie Bromley and Angela Harmantas

Australias New Energy Paradigm

Investments into Australias power sector enable the industry to meet the collective goal of becoming a cleaner, greener nation
For years, Australia has been heavily reliant on plentiful domestic coal resources for electricity generation, but recent federal legislations are explicitly designed to restructure the countrys power supply. The July 1, 2012 introduction of the Labour governments much-debated carbon tax has signaled a new wave of enthusiasm for renewable energy projects that have previously been considered a complement to Australias coal-ired generation matrix. In another move to promote renewables, the federal government has instituted a Renewable Energy Target of 20% renewable power generation by 2020, representing a 10% increase from current levels. These developments have taken place at a time when Australia has successfully navigated the harsh waters of the global inancial crisis, thanks in large part to its energy-intensive resource industries. Australias GDP growth during the irst half of 2012 ranked amongst the developed worlds highest rates at 3.7%. In another stamp of approval for Australias economic success, the International Monetary Fund predicted that Australia would outperform all advanced economies for at least the next two years. The continued growth of Australias economy is largely contingent upon the availability of cheap, reliable power, which currently equates to coal and gas. While publicly there is excitement surrounding the development of renewables, industry proponents themselves acknowledge that wind, solar and biomass are in the early stages of commercialization. For now, coal remains king. Coal-ired power stations have been the reason for Australias successful economic growth in every state, according to Peter Jackson, managing director of Eraring Energy, a state-owned utility in New South Wales that operates the 2880 MW Eraring coal-ired power station. Consumers are increasingly aware of electricity pricing, having increased substantially over the last few years. This price increase is due to distribution costs, while generation costs are exactly the same today as it was ive years ago in real terms, costs have reduced due to increased eficiencies in coal-ired power stations, he said. The company recently invested A$600 million into Eraring power station for environmental upgrades and increasing capacity. David Pryke, executive vice-president, Energy at Siemens Australia, estimates it is unlikely there will be a new fossil plant in coming years, which he attributes to a fall in demand. There has been a lower energy demand in the manufacturing industry because of closures apportioned to the high value of the Australian dollar. The public has become cost-conscious and more frugal with electricity use, he said. Household electricity bills have risen almost 50% over the past three years. The Australian Energy Market Operator, who over-

Condenser Cooling Water Piping. Photo courtesy of Eraring Energy.

June 2013

Global Business Reports // POWER AUSTRALIA

going political debate about so-called gold plating, where continued investment into networks has been questioned as excessive. Gold plating is a term that has unfortunately taken off in the political domain for the purpose of media attention, said Peter McIntyre, TransGrids managing director. As one of the Southern Hemispheres biggest economic hubs, Sydney needs a reliable network. Transmission failures, while considerably rare, can have catastrophic consequences. When systems deteriorate to the point of failing consistently, the time to recover can be measured in years. Our job is to meet customers reliability expectations at minimal capital expense. TransGrid aims to spend its available funds wisely and prudently by identifying the latest possible point we can invest in augmenting the network. Our Board has deferred almost A$1 billion of projects in the last 12 months. However, much of our grid was built in the 1960s and 1970s, and networks on average have about 50-year lifespans. It is appropriate that we have an ongoing program to replace it. In 2013, the company instituted a price freeze for the year, in response to the rising

Global Business Reports

Peter Jackson, Managing Director, Eraring Energy

PowerSenses DISCOS overhead combined (current and voltage) sensors for medium voltage. Photo courtesy of PowerSense.

sees the retail market, overestimated peak demand in every Australian state and was forced to revise its projections. These original estimates caused utilities to funnel capital expenditures into the upgrading of the electricity networks, which led to higher prices as they seek to recoup their investments. TransGrid, the state-owned transmission company in New South Wales, implemented a number of projects designed to upgrade the network capability, despite on-

electricity costs. TransGrid is sensitive to the debate around rising power prices and wants to be part of the solution. We are very conscious that our revenues luctuate, although for good reasons. As you build more capital, greater funds are required; and the cost of capital also varies. However, these luctuations are not good news for end users, who receive them as power prices. These prices have risen in recent years due to a combination of factors: networks liability standards, ageing infrastructure, ris-

Global Business Reports // POWER AUSTRALIA

June 2013

Global Business Reports


Andrew Halliday, Sales and Support Manager, ANZ, PowerSense Peter McIntyre, Managing Director, Transgrid

ing capital costs in international markets, increasing gas prices and the introduction of a carbon price scheme. Our solution is to freeze our prices in 2013 and then smooth them over the following years, said Peter McIntyre. One way that utilities can combat the rising costs of electricity passed along to the consumer is through the use of smart grid technologies. Energy management technologies have applications in both the highand lower-ends of the energy market in Australia, said Andrew Halliday, sales and support manager of Australia and New Zealand of PowerSense, a Denmark-based smart grid company who have targeted Australia as a growth region. Smart grid is moving forward on two fronts: high-end functionality where sophisticated technology is required to measure power quality; and an increased focus on low-end technologies, such as transformer loads, he said. PowerSenses Australian operations currently contribute 40% of the companys global revenues. The Australian government is employing a number of state-based programs to advance the deployment of energy management systems. The state of Victoria, in southern Australia, mandated that smart meters be installed in all Victorian households and small businesses by the end of 2013. Despite the Victorian governments support of a smart grid rollout, some companies still feel that the industry needs better regulation in this area nationally. Oliver Iltisberger, executive vice-president, Asia Paciic at Landis + Gyr, an international smart metering company, explained: The industry needs a clear regulatory framework for the rollout of smart metering or smart grid technology in the other Australian states. Until this regulatory framework is in place, it will
June 2013

be dificult to secure investment to move smart grid projects forward. A clear regulatory framework is also essential because, according to Michael Cummings, fund manager of the Infrastructure Fund at AMP Capital, Australia as a country is combating low productivity gains. Arguably, investment in technology such as smart meters will help drive productivity, he said. According to Michael Rath, National Leader of Energy and Water at Deloitte, the customer will be one of the biggest catalysts for driving change in the power sector: The industry is going through a tremendous amount of change. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the technology area: we are moving to a digital-based industry. This will impact the way networks are designed and how customers interact with their energy providers. For the foreseeable future, demand management technologies and infrastructure upgrades are the answer to the question of how to provide energy for Australias still-growing economy. There should be no additional baseload requirement before 2020, as energy consumption has fallen largely as a result of the slowing in GDP growth, a reduction in demand from the manufacturing sector, noticeable price elasticity in the residential sector, and the success of federal and state energy eficiency schemes, explained Gilles Walgenwitz, general manager of government and utilities at Energetics, an energy management consultancy with ofices across Australia. The country is entering a new phase of energy management: one that focuses on the effective delivery of energy to its population rather than continuous supply, and it is up to regulators and industry alike to ensure a smooth transition.
Global Business Reports // POWER AUSTRALIA


Expect U.S. Electricity Consumption to Increase

Lawrence J. Makovich, PhD, IHS CERAs vice president and senior advisor for Global Power, predicts a rebound in electricity consumption from recession levels. Specifically, the rebound will be stronger than government projections, led by growth in electricity use by industry.
he U.S. Energy Information Administrations (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2013 (released Dec. 5, 2012) predicted industrial electricity sales increases by 1.4% and 1.2% in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Contributing Editor Mark Axford met with Lawrence Makovich, PhD, an authority on electricity markets, regulation, economics, and strategy during the March CERA conference. Makovich candidly presents his view of the EIA demand growth predictions, the competitive electricity market, and renewable power generation. I was interested in your comments about the coming industrial renaissance in the U.S. How did you come to the conclusion that U.S. demand will grow more rapidly than the latest forecast from the EIA? Makovich: If you look back at the trend rate of growth of power, EIA is telling the nation to expect something under 1.0%I think theyre at 0.9% per year as a trend growth rate. Thats a significant slowdown from what weve seen historically. A lot of people have asked me, Whats behind that? If you pull the numbers apart, theres a very interesting story to be seen. If we look back across the past decade, for example, we saw residential use of electricity grew 1.7% per year. Commercial electricity growth was 1.0% per year, yet industrial consumption was down 0.2% per year. If you dig into the data further, youll see that in the last economic expansion, prior to the recession of 20022007, residential demand was running up 1.9%, commercial was up a little over 2%, and industrial was going at 0.7% positive. If you looked at industrial production, of which manufacturing is about 80%, industrial production was moving up at about the same pace as the U.S. economy, about 2.4% per year. What this data tells us is that over the last economic expansion, we had about a 2% or so gain every year in electric efficiency on the industrial side, and thats something we expect

to continue. Now, when we look at the recession, industrial production dropped 20%. The broader economy (GDP) dropped 5% during a year and half, 2008 through mid-2009. So industrial activity and manufacturing activity took a big hit. Today, we see the U.S. moving into a favorable competitive position particularly because of the low cost of energy now available to manufacturers. Our expectation is that manufacturing and industry in the U.S. will be growing a few points more than GDP. So even if we get 1.5% to 2.0% efficiency gain every year, were looking at a much stronger story for industrial power demand over the next five years. So, if the industrial power usage firms up and grows 1% to 2% per year, and there are similar trends as in commercial and residential energy use increase, I think were going to end up much closer to what weve seen in the past: an overall growth rate in electricity consumption of 1.5% to 1.7% per year. The current estimates today from EIA and the general pessimism about the economy suggests this is a no-growth business. I think people have confused some cyclical events as permanent structural changes. Do you think the U.S. will start to feel any of that electricity consumption increase during 2013, or is it going to take a little while longer? Makovich: The Wall Street Journal began 2013 with an article titled Power Demand on Wane (Rebecca Smith, Jan. 2, 2013). The article didnt correct for weather or the business cycle. It gave people the impression that the drop in consumption has been caused by a broad efficiency effect. I had the feeling that when the CERAWeek conference began on March 4, the year-to-date power consumption was probably going to surprise people. As of Feb. 28, 2013, electric consumption in the U.S. was up a little over 2%. Now, that was easy to predict because we know that 2012 was the warmest year in

100 years. So the probability that this winter would be as warm as last winter was very low. We also knew that wed have a positive push from a colder Jan.-Feb. Layer on top of that an economy that is at least 2% larger than it was in 2012, and that gives us two reinforcing factors: more economic activity and a weather correction that is a positive push. I knew wed get off to a stronger start in 2013. So were above trend, probably even ahead of the GDP growth rate for the first quarter. We expect that summer 2013 wont be as warm as 2012, so the growth rate will probably taper off during the summer, but were still looking at growth in electricity consumption that could be as great as 1.6% for 2013 over 2012. When I think of industrial manufacturing in America, the places that come to my mind are Ohio, Indiana, and, in a different way, Texas and the Gulf Coast. Will regional demand growth be different in those regions than in the Northeast and California? Makovich: Electricity is one of a number of important inputs to industrial processes. When you look at the energy input to industry, electricity has been gaining share globally. Industrial electricity use accounts for, on average, 25% to 33% of industrial overall energy consumption. When you think of the trends in automation, robotics, and computer control of industrial process, you can see why electricity is gaining share as an energy input. Places that have relatively low power prices, all else equal, become more attractive to the expansion of manufacturing. Whats interesting is within the U.S., across the last decade, the spread in industrial power prices from one state to another has expanded quite a bit. Ten years ago, the average distance to the mean for industrial power prices was 2.4/kWh. Today it is 3.8/kWh. California is an example of a state where power has become relatively expensive. A couple days ago, the Wall Street
POWER June 2013

Journal noted that high labor costs and high energy costs are causing a decline in California manufacturing jobs, even though the U.S. has added 500,000 manufacturing jobs over the past two years. Power prices are also an important factor for global competitiveness. When you look at our five major trading partners, the U.S. has a competitive advantage in power price. Take Germany for example. In the past decade, the industrial price of electricity has gone up 10 times faster than in the U.S. German industrial electricity prices are more than double the U.S. prices. In addition, the price of natural gas in Germany is about triple the average U.S. cost. Energy prices definitely affect global competitiveness for industry. Energy prices are influencing where manufacturing activity is going these days. How about the market structure debate? PJM is saying that capacity payments are fundamental to success. ERCOT is saying no, energy only is the best approach. What is your opinion? Makovich: When California first put together its deregulation of the power sector, CERA had written that there didnt seem to be an adequate mechanism to recover the full cost of generating capacity. We predicted that there would be boom and bust cycles, and as it played out, thats exactly what happened. California didnt have a market structure that supported investment, and they ended up short of power. Ive written that the root cause of the problem was a flawed market structure. I testified in Congress that capacity mechanisms are needed for a well-functioning power market. Weve known for a long time that wellstructured power markets need some type of a capacity payment. I think the general trend has been a slow evolution to capacity payment mechanisms. PJM is on its third or fourth major revision. ERCOT started with a capacity requirement. When ERCOT built a lot of new capacity, the capacity payment was suspended. Now ERCOT is running short of power again, and the necessity of a capacity mechanism is becoming apparent. There are a number of interesting proposals about how to structure this mechanism, but without getting into the particulars, CERA thinks a well-structured power market needs a capacity mechanism. California was once a leader in developing competitive markets 12 years ago, before the deregulation train wreck. Now, after a decade of re-regulation, will the community aggregation movement create traction for more competition?

Makovich: These efforts are very preliminary. At the root of the problem is the high cost of power. California has some of the highest power prices in the country, significantly above the U.S. average. Whats interesting is that residential use per household over the last decade has gone up, not down. Most people dont realize that in 41 out of 50 states, residential use of electricity per household has gone up. This occurred despite the fact that the real price of electricity went up 10% on average in the U.S. and average personal incomes went down 6.7%

during that same decade. What people pay for electricity, their bill, as a percentage of their disposable income has been going up. That creates more and more pressure to find some relief. And I think thats exactly what you are seeing in California. People have this hope by moving toward a muni or community aggregator they can achieve some price relief. With the experts predicting low and stable natural gas prices for years ahead, is the U.S. now seeing a flattening or the


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beginning of a decline in the appeal of green energy? Makovich: Its a very interesting phenomenon. The original production tax credit legislation was put in place for just seven or eight years. Ive always asked, Why seven or eight years and then expire? Thats about the amount of time it took us to put a man on the moon after President Kennedy made the commitment. I think the logic was, if we can put a man on the moon, we ought to able to encourage enough activity in wind and solar so that within eight years or so, we would have moved up the learning curve, driven costs down, and achieved sufficient innovation so that the reduced cost would have created a widespread disruptive technology. It didnt happen. The reason it didnt happen was that the biggest innovation that weve had in energy, maybe in our lifetime, was the shale gas revolution. It wasnt an innovation that people really wanted. A long time ago, the government took away its support for this kind of fossil development. Nonetheless, it happened. People were slow to recognize what was occurring, but the notion that innovation would deliver more abundant, lower-cost fossil fuels was not what people expected. Instead, people were told for years that fossil fuels were the fuels of the past. So the innovation that people didnt want, or expect, has substantially undermined the economics of renewables. The cost gap between renewables and conventional fuels is as big today as it was 10 years ago. You can see it very dramatically in the stock prices for clean energy companies. They soared when people thought this was the disruptive technology of the future, they dropped with the rest of the market in the recession, and did not recover when the stock market reached an all-time high. I think this has occurred because todays investment hypothesis is renewable energy is no longer a disruptive technology ready to take off. Instead, the investment hypothesis says that without long-term government support, youre not going to see growth in renewables. I think thats what weve got ahead for us right nowa renewables business thats going to depend for many years to come on continued government support. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the Northeast was the first U.S. carbon market, recently followed by California. Do you think this will spread to other regions of the U.S.? Makovich: I think the success of these markets to date is rather mixed. In Europe,
June 2013 POWER

there were lots of problems with the way the market was set up. Prices initially were much higher than people expected, then much lower, and there were some concerns about fraud in the marketplace. I think the biggest lesson here is that these markets, if set up properly, are a very effective way to put a price on CO2 emissions. The problem is when some regions do it and others dont. California and Europe put a price on carbon with a very well-intentioned effort to internalize these costs, while the rest of the world, in particular China, is expanding its power sector largely based on coal-fired generation. Despite all the efforts in the developed countries, CO2 emissions globally are over 50% higher than they were in 1990. I think the lesson here is that unless you get all the major emitters to participate, taking action unilaterally puts you at a competitive disadvantage. Some people say that every little bit helps, but unilateral efforts have not materially affected the trends of CO2 emissions and the absolute level of concentrations in the atmosphere. CERA focuses on the question, What would it cost to transition to emit lower amounts of carbon for the energy thats

used? There are some huge gaps in the application of good engineering, economics, and science. I think people are doing a lot of things today that dont make sense from an economic and science perspective, a lot of inefficient activities to address CO2. For example, Germany is a leading proponent of solar photovoltaic for peoples rooftops. The problem is, Germany isnt a sunny place. Its a relatively inefficient application of resources to a technology that does not give you much bang for the buck. The implicit cost is probably over $100/ton of CO2 removed with PV panels in Germany. You could get a 10-fold reduction in CO2 simply by purchasing the allowances on the marketplace because other people have cheaper options to reduce CO 2. The ironic thing is that as the Germans learn the limits of intermittent renewables, theyre being forced back toward conventional power plants. Today, Germany is building more coal-fired power plants than the U.S., a power grid with six times the capacity.

Mark Axford, POWER contributing editor, conducted and edited this interview.

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New England Struggles with Gas Supply Bottlenecks

New Englands big push toward gas-fired power collided hard with its historical pipeline constraints this past winter, leaving multiple generators unable to respond to start-up requests from ISO-New England during a major storm. In the wake of the episode, the region is looking for some longterm solutions.
By Thomas Overton

ordon van Welie, the president and chief executive officer of ISO-New England (ISO-NE), is a man with a big problem. As he explained to the House Subcommittee on Energy & Power on March 29, the New England region has realized almost $7 billion in savings since 2007 from reduced wholesale electricity costs. Old, inefficient oil and coal plantsmostly public-ownedhave been retired and replaced with a modern fleet of natural gas fired combined cycle plants financed by private investors. The shift not only saw the average wholesale price of electricity in 2012 fall to its lowest level since 2003, but its also led to significant reductions in emissions of NOx, SOx, and CO2 and shifted new infrastructure investment risk from ratepayers to private investors. The once coal-heavy region now gets 52% of its electricity from natural gas. Those may sound like problems worth having. But ISO-NE learned the hard way this past winter that whatever the merits of greater reliance on natural gas, few, if any, of them are available unless the gas can get to the plants. Twice this year, in late January and mid-February, cold temperatures and bad weather caused a spike in gas demand for heating, sending gas prices at the Algonquin city rate spiraling over $30/MMBtu. With the wholesale electricity price determined largely by the price of gas, costs shot up over $200/MWh and stayed at abnormally high levels for weeks. The causes of the challenge the ISO-NE region is facing are complex and in some ways interdependent. Not surprisingly, one culprit is increased power burn (Figure 1). From an average of 3.53 Bcf/d from 2005 to 2010, power burn rose to around 6 Bcf/d last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Adminis56

tration (EIA). Capacity factors and utilization for the regions newer combined cycle power plants (CCPPs) have nearly doubled compared to 2001, with total annual gasfired generation rising from under 20 TWh in 2001 to more than 50 TWh in 2012, according to ISO-NE. However, the gas crunch has been exacerbated by two additional factors that have reduced supplies in the region. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports into the city of Boston and the Canadian province

of Nova Scotia, which provided an important additional relief valve when resources were short, have fallen substantially since 2008 along with U.S. gas prices (Figure 2). Those low prices have made the region an unattractive LNG market compared to others overseas, such as Asia. Spot and shortterm LNG shipments have been diverted elsewhere, and only long-term contracts are still being serviced. This is an increasingly serious problem because, according to EIA data, since 2010, LNG has supplied around

1. A widening appetite. GenConn Energys new 200-MW four-unit gas turbine peaking plant in Middletown, Conn., is one of numerous new gas-fired plants to come online in New England recently. Courtesy: Murtha Cullina LLP

POWER June 2013

25% of New Englands daily gas demand, and has risen to as much as 60% of total demand on some peak winter days. In addition, Canadian production from the Sable offshore field in Nova Scotia has been falling steadily since 2002, and 2012 production was the lowest its been since the field came online in 2000. the key arteries in the region, have climbed steadily since 2005. Loads at the Stony Point compressor station in New York historically rose over 80% only from November to January. In 2012, it was over 80% for almost the entire year. Consequently, the traditional winter price spikes have begun cropping up during summer demand periods as well. During January and February of this year, loads exceeded 90%, and both the Algonquin and TETCo pipelines were forced to issue operational flow orders (OFOs), a mechanism that requires shippers to balance supplies with usage within a specific range. When an OFO is in place, customers without firm, or guaranteed, service are at risk of being cut off. During that period, van Welie explained, ISO operators had to cope with multiple instances where generators (both gas- and oil-fired) could not get fuel to run. At one point during the February snowstorm, more than 6 GW of capacity about one-fifth of the regions totalwas unavailable because of a lack of fuel. Our experiences this winter, he said, lead us to conclude that the status quo is not sustainable. Its worth noting that the situation this winter did not take ISO-NE by surprise. In 2010, it launched a strategic planning initiative that was intended to address potential threats to reliability, among them overreliance on gas-fired capacity. The initiative warned that sufficient gas may not be available to meet power system needs during periods of very high seasonal demand, under other stressed system conditions, or when facing contingencies associated with natural gas supply/transportation system infrastructure. That warning would prove prophetic. Solutions, however, have been elusive. Most of the impediments lie in the nature of the gas pipeline business. Pipeline service has traditionally been tiered according to priority, having evolved to serve customers with different needs. Gas utilities, with predictable demand and service obligations to residential customers, are able to sign long-term contracts for firm service, and it is on these contracts that gas pipelines get built. Power plant owners, with less-predictable needs and a desire to keep costs down, instead normally opt for less-expensive interruptible service. The bulk of the pipeline capacity into New England has long been tied up by long-term firm service contracted by the areas local distribution companies. Still, for many years, there was sufficient unused capacity in the system that interruptible service worked for the regions generators. During peak winter demand when gas prices spiked, the areas coal- and oil-fired plants were able to take up the slack and meet electricity demand.

Pipeline Bottlenecks
While the regions rising demand in the face of reduced supplies is the immediate challenge, the problem really comes down to one thing: pipeline capacity. Natural gas flows into the U.S. Northeast have long been somewhat constrained due to the need to ship gas long distances from producing regions in the South and Southwest. The system has traditionally run near capacity only during the peak winter months. That has changed in the past five years. According to EIA data, flows on the Algonquin Transmission pipeline, one of

2. A narrowing window. As consumption in New England has climbed on the back of increased power burn, imports from Canada and via liquefied natural gas (LNG) have fallen, even as the capacity to import gas from elsewhere in the U.S. and move it through the region has remained flat since 2008. Source: EIA
Electric power consumption (MMcf) Total consumption (MMcf) Canadian pipeline imports (MMcf) LNG imports (Everett/NE Gateway/Neptune) (MMcf) Pipeline capacity from other U.S.states (Bcf/d) Intra-regional in-flow capacity (Bcf/d) 1,000,000 900,000 800,000 5,500 700,000 600,000 4,500 7,500


If You Come, Will They Build It?

That was then. As oil prices have skyrocketed, gas prices have fallen, and coal plants have been retired, that alternate capacity has shrunk substantially. But despite the added gas demand, pipeline capacity has not grown to meet it. In many ways, this is a clash of business models. Pipelines are almost always designed, financed, and built based on peak firm contracted service, period. Unlike the electricity grid, little to no concern is given to reserve margins. Firm customers typically contract 100% (or nearly so) of a pipelines capacity, because it makes little sense for a pipeline owner to build speculative capacity.


500,000 400,000 300,000



1,500 200,000 100,000 0 500



2009 Year





June 2013 POWER


Unfortunately for generators, especially in a wholesale electricity market like ISONE, it makes equally little sense for a plant to spend the extra money on a firm service contract when demand is uncertain. Doing so creates substantial risks of having purchased gas that is unneeded or that cannot be used profitably because of day-to-day market conditions. Said van Welie, Natural gas generators generally have a short- to medium-term financial horizon, and they are a diverse group with diverse market interests. Thus, they are a group of fragmented buyers who are unlikely to enter into long-term fuel arrangements on a large scale. This does not align with the long-term commitment preferred by investors in gas pipelines and gas storage infrastructure. ISO-NE is working to develop market changes that are intended to increase the financial incentives for generators to secure reliable fuel supplies. These include:

unseasonably warm winters. My fear, he said, is that this warmer weather has masked system vulnerabilities that will be exposed when more normal colder weather patterns occur.

The Way Forward

The discussion in New England is being led by the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE) Gas-Electric Focus Group, which was formed in October. Thus far, the focus group has been leading monthly meetings and conference calls among stakeholders in both industries. NESCOE plans to issue a final report on the challenges and possible solutions New England is facing later this year. The report will also include a multi-phase study of regional pipeline capacity conducted by Black & Veatch. The first phase of the study, released in December, reviewed existing research analyzing the adequacy of the gas infrastructure in New England and its ability to meet forecasted demand. The study identified a number of serious information gaps:

Changing the wholesale market to improve electricity price formation and improve the ability of generators to reflect the true cost of fuel in their offers. Strengthening performance incentives for generators and demand resources. Changing the timing of the electricity market to make it easier for generators to secure fuel from the gas market to meet their obligations in the electricity market. Expanding the regions reserve margin.

Van Welie also suggested that some of the billions in savings reaped from lower gas prices be devoted to expanding the regions gas infrastructure. New England may be leading the vanguard on this issue, but it is not alone. Last year, in the wake of a similar disruption in the Southwest in 2011, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) formally launched an initiative to improve coordination between the natural gas and electricity industries. The issues it is trying to address are much the same as what ISO-NE faced this winter: scheduling and market structure, communications and information sharing, and reliability. In August, FERC held a series of five regional conferences in an attempt to gather information and begin the process of developing solutions. Three follow-up conferences were held in February, April, and May of this year. FERC is equally worried about the potential for future interruptions in service. As Commissioner Philip Moeller pointed out at the same congressional hearing, these problems have emerged despite two

No previous study clearly identified what level of gas infrastructure would be considered adequate to meet electricity reliability challenges. No study examined seasonal, daily, and hourly fluctuations in demand in an effort to identify potential system constraints. No estimates exist of the costs of new pipeline infrastructure that might be needed, and no study has attempted to quantify the benefits of additional infrastructure in a way that accounts for market uncertainties.

The second phase, released in April, attempted to fill these holes. Black & Veatch found that, historically, the region has been at risk of price spikes and capacity constraints any time system load exceeded 75% of contracted capacity. It projected that by 2018, those conditions would exist in almost every region of ISONE at least 30 days out of the year, and at least 60 days out of the year in most of them. In eastern Connecticut and western Massachusetts, load would exceed 75% on more than 120 days. The report noted that Spectras Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline project, which is intended to expand the capacity of the existing Algonquin pipeline, would help alleviate some of these constraints. The AIM project is currently in early planning phases and projected for service in late 2016.

Black & Veatch also pointed out, somewhat ominously that, existing and proposed firm contracted capacity is only a theoretical proxy for natural gas availability. The study assumed that LNG from the areas terminals and send-out from the Canadian pipelines was fully available. In reality, of course, both resources fell short of capacity this past winter and could easily do so again. The report identified an array of potential infrastructure solutions (it did not consider market-based solutions, as these are being developed by ISO-NE). Approximately 2.85 Bcf/d to 3.35 Bcf/d of new and expanded pipeline capacity is currently being proposed for the region (including AIM). The report estimates the projected total cost for these projects at least $3 billion. About half the proposed capacity is greenfield, making potential development uncertain. Additional LNG peak-shaving facilities could be added to the regions existing 15 Bcf of storage capacity at a cost of around $110 million per 1 Bcf. These facilities, however, are limited in their ability to provide ongoing supplies because of the extremely slow liquefaction cycle. While demand response is not expected to play a meaningful role in relieving gas capacity constraints, the report noted that New England still has a substantial amount of dual-fuel generation capacity, most of it built since 1990 and not expected to retire in the near future. While oil-fueled generation in the region has shrunk to insignificant levels because of higher oil costs and environmental restrictions (many of these plants are permitted to burn oil for only a limited number of days per year), these resources could provide a backstop in the event of gas unavailability. Indeed, oil made an unexpected comeback this winter, reaching 5% of total generation during the January crunch and 7% during the February storm, according to EIA data. The final phase of the study, due out later this year, will analyze potential solutions. Van Welie, though, made it clear what ISO-NE is hoping to get from the pipeline companies: more flexibility. The gas sector, he said, could assist with reliability efforts if gas suppliers provided generators with additional opportunities to obtain fuel outside of normal business hours, and if pipelines would offer more flexible scheduling, additional services, and provide real-time information on the status of the pipeline system.

Thomas W. Overton, JD (@thomas_overton) is POWERs gas technology editor.

POWER June 2013

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This September, thousands of business leaders, investors, technology innovators, federal and state government ocials and university educators representing every aspect of the renewable energy industry will unite for three days in Washington, DC. RETECH educates and informs its international attendee base with a technical program that addresses relevant and cutting-edge topics in renewable energy technologies, power generation, military and government, and business.
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What Is the Worth of 1 Btu/kWh of Heat Rate?

Decisions about design and operational options often are determined by one metric: the impact on the cost of electricity produced. An enhanced screening algorithm for power generation system total ownership cost (capital and operating) and thermal performance (output and efficiency) simplifies the analysis.
By S.C. Glen, PhD, PE, Bechtel

n a previous POWER article (A More Accurate Way to Calculate the Cost of Electricity, June 2011), traditional and expanded formulations of cost of electricity (COE) were discussed in detail. That article highlighted the pitfalls in using traditional formulas to analyze todays highly flexible advanced combined cycle (CC) power plants. However, that analysis is valid only for very narrowly defined assumptions. This article will look into the same problem from a different perspective so that the analysis can be extended to all types of power generation problems.

The Apparent Value of Heat Rate

Using the basic COE formula and ignoring the change in operations and maintenance (O&M) costs, the maximum acceptable increase in capital cost (MACC) is calculated by equating before and after COE values for a given plant improvement (Equation 1). The two components of the MACC formula give the value of plant heat rate (HR) or its equivalent efficiency(h) and output (P). In general, an improvement in CC heat rate (efficiency) comes with a change in output and heat (fuel) consumption (HC). If the improvement is limited to the bottoming cycle or combustion turbine (CT) hot gas path section, there is no change in CT heat consumption; that is, HC = 0. This is the first special case explored below. Using the well-known definition of efficiency and heat rate h = P/HC and HR = 3,412/h Btu/kWhit can be shown that the value of 1 Btu/kWh reduction in heat rate is given by Equation 2. It is critical to use appropriate units and financial multipliers for the fuel cost in these calculations. Typically, fuel cost is quoted in dollars per MMBtu in higher heating value (HHV). For CC performance, on the other hand, the appropriate HR or efficiency measure is lower heating value (LHV). Furthermore, the most widely used metric in

economic evaluations is the levelized COE (LCOE), which is obtained by multiplying the COE by a levelization factor (LF). LCOE provides a single number in current dollars accounting for the escalation of costs over the operational period of the power plant in question. For details, refer to Cost Estimation Methodology for NETL Assessments of Power Plant Performance published by the U.S. Department of Energys National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), available at Thus, the fuel cost used in Equation 2 should be in units of $/MMBtu (LHV) and is found by f = f0 h LF; where h = ratio of fuel HHV to LHV (1.109 for natural gas as 100% CH4) and f0 = base fuel cost in $ per MMBtu (HHV). Appropriate values of LF and b can be obtained using formulas available in sources such as the NETL guide or the Electric Power Research Institutes Technical Assessment Guide with pertinent economic assumptions and project financial structure. Representative values for independent power producer owned CC plants with proven technology are 1.169 and 16% (levelized) for LF and b, respectively. Alternatively, one can also calculate the value of one basis point improvement in net efficiency as a yardstick, as illustrated by Equation 3. Values of heat rate (VHR) and efficiency (VEFF) are plotted as a function of fuel cost in Figure 1. Two things should be noted in this figure. First, for F-Class technology, VHR and VEFF are nearly equivalent and can be used interchangeably. Second, for E-Class technology with lower efficiencies, VEFF is higher than VHR (which does not change with h0). Furthermore, the difference is more pronounced at higher fuel costs. This is not surprising because the same incremental change (that is, one basis point) in efficiency is more valuable for older technologies burning a lot more fuel.

Equation 1. Calculate maximum acceptable increase in capital cost (MACC). MACC is the capital cost
equivalent of a given plant performance improvement (output and/or heat rate) with no change in cost of electricity. The parameters (in consistent units) are: H = annual operating hours; f = levelized fuel cost ($ per kWh in lower heating value in Equation 1, typically $/MMBtu in higher heating value); b = levelized carrying charge factor or cost of money; P = change in plant net output (kW); HC = change in plant heat consumption (kW in Equation 1, typically MMBtu/hr); h0 = plant net efficiency (base); and, k0 = plant-specific capital cost (base, $/kW).

Equation 2. Calculate the value of heat rate (VHR). The value of 1 Btu/
kWh improvement in plant heat rate in dollars (VHR) is found using this equation. Note that P is in units of kW, f is in units of $/MMBtu (LHV), and P0 is the base value of plant output. Divide f by 293.071 to convert it to $ per kWh, used in Equation 1.

Equation 3. Value of 1 basis point improvement in plant net efficiency in dollars (VEFF). LF and
b are assumed as 1.169 and 16% (levelized), respectively. Note that HC is in units of MMBtu/hr and f in $/MMBtu, both LHV. HC0 is the base value of gas turbine (plant) fuel consumption. A basis point is one-hundredth of one percentage point, or 1/10,000.

POWER June 2013

Note that Figure 1 is a handy guide for determining the value of 1 Btu/kWh or 1 basis point of efficiency for different criteria. All one has to do is to scale the number read from Figure 1, as needed. In other words, for a CC plant using F-Class technology to be operated for 6,500 hours per year with $8 fuel, the value of each 1 Btu/kWh is (6,500/4,250) $138K ~ $210K over the life of the project, expressed in current dollars. About the same value would be obtained for one basis point of efficiency.

The Intrinsic Value of Heat Rate

The numbers obtained from Figure 1 are probably familiar to some readers from personal experience. Unfortunately, for this special case with DHC = 0 (that is, efficiency/ heat rate improvement is entirely due to bottoming cycle power output increase) the numbers from Figure 1 are also incorrect. As will be made clear in the following discussion, it overstates the value of heat rate by a very large margin. In order to appreciate this, consider the second special case, where there is no change in CC plant output: DP = 0. In other words, efficiency/heat rate improvement is entirely due to reduced CT heat consumption. There are myriad ways to achieve this by optimizing the entire CT and/or CC system. A well-known example coming quite close to this special case is CT fuel heating (typically up to around 400F in modern FClass units). Algebraically, the resulting formulas for VHR and VEFF are the same as Equations 2 and 3. This, however, is counterintuitive. How can the value of heat rate be the same in two conflicting scenarios, one with a substantial reduction in fuel consumption and one with no fuel consumption reduction? Because there is no error in the mathematics, the answer is more philosophical, as the term value has nonmathematical connotations (recall the water/diamond value paradoxwater is more valuable for life, but diamonds command a higher price). The law of diminishing marginal utility best describes the concept. There is nothing wrong with improving CC plant efficiency with increased bottoming cycle output. In fact, this is the raison dtre for the combined cycle concept in the first place. A 300+ MW, 40% efficient system (a combustion turbine in simple cycle) is turned into a 500+ MW, 60% efficient system by the addition of a bottoming cycle. The value or utility of the additional 20 percentage points increase in net efficiency due to the additional 200+ MW is indisputable. Not so clear-cut is the incremental value of the improvement or, in economic jargon, the marginal utility of the next 1-kW increase. In fact, the MACC formula in Equation 1 actually represents the marginal benefit of 1 kW additional CC plant output in terms of capital cost DC/DPwhich can be obtained by simply dividing both sides of Equation 1 by DP.

1. Value of 1 Btu/kWh improvement in net CC heat rate (VHR) and 1 basis point improvement in net CC efficiency (VEFF). For advanced F-Class
technology, VHR and VEFF are roughly equivalent. The values read from these curves can be scaled up or down for different values of H, b, LF , and P0 as needed. Source: Bechtel VHR $300,000 VEFF (F class) VEFF (E class)






$0 $0 $2 $4 $6 $8 $10 Fuel cost ($ per MMBtu, HHV) $12 $14

Notes: H = 4,250 hr/year, = 16%, LF = 1.169, Po = 500MW,

o = 58% (F class) and = 53% (E class)

2. Realization factor.

The correction for CC efficiency improvement achieved by CC output increase only (with the same heat consumption) is the realization factor (RF). The shown RF (80%) is for a typical unfired CC part-load correction curve. For a specific unit the OEM-supplied curve should be used. Also note that the approximation is valid for P/P0 of about 1% to 2%. Source: Bechtel

Corrected Credit for only 80% of efficiency delta

CC efficiency



C lC



d loa



on cti





Special Case: Efficiency at Fixed Power Output. The divergence

between pure mathematics and perceived value occurs when the marginal kW output has little or no value to the plant owner. 61

CC load
June 2013 POWER

Using the sample F-Class CC plant of Figure 1 with 500 MW and 58% thermal efficiency, assume that the designers come up with an improved steam turbine so that the net output increases 1%, to 505 MW. Because the CT is unchanged, fuel consumption remains unchanged, yet CC efficiency increases by 1%, to 58.58%. At $6/MMBtu fuel, the value of the additional 58 basis points in net efficiency is calculated as 58 x $105K ~ $6 million. However, when this new technology is offered to the customer, the response is disappointing. From the customers perspective this is an unattractive value proposition because there is no need for the additional 5-MW output. In economic terms, the marginal utility of the extra 5 MW to that particular customer is zero. Because the additional 58 basis points in efficiency are tied to that output increase, its value is questionable, as the added output does not lower the customers fuel bill one single cent. Fortunately, the indifference to additional output does not render the new technology valueless from a heat rate perspective. Figure 2 shows a typical CC part-load efficiency curve. The point labeled Base on the chart represents the old technology (500 MW, 58% thermal efficiency). The new base load point labeled Improved is 505 MW at 58.6%. Because the demand is for exactly 500 MW, the plant is run at 99% of full load with only 0.2% penalty in net efficiency (the point labeled Corrected). In other words, only 80% of the original efficiency improvement, which can only be achieved at base load, is realized. Thus, the heat rate or efficiency value calculated using the original formulas in Equations 2 and 3 should be reduced by 20%. This can be introduced into the formula by a multiplicative realization factor (RF).
General Case: Value of Each Btu/kWh.

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Having found the answer for the specific case, the next step is to look at the general case, where 1% improvement in net plant output is accompanied by an arbitrary x% improvement in net efficiency. Realization factors have been calculated for a range of efficiency improvements accompanying 1% improvement in P by Equation 4. As an illustration, consider the same sample 500-MW F-Class CC plant of Figure 1 with 58% thermal efficiency. Suppose the CT compressor is upgraded with new technology to give 0.7% higher CC output and 0.3% higher CC efficiency (new CC performance is 503.5 MW and 58.17%, respectively). What is the value of each basis point in efficiency for $6 fuel and 6,000 hours per year? From Figure 1, at $6 fuel, each basis point is worth about $105K, which is scaled up for annual hours to (6,000/4,250) $105K ~ $148K. The efficiency improvement factor E is 0.3/0.7/100 ~ 0.0043 (or 0.43% for each 1% in P) so that RF from Equation 4 is 0.53. Thus, the value of each basis point net CC efficiency increased for this CT compressor upgrade is 0.53 148K = $79K. This value is the intrinsic value of each Btu/kWh of CC net heat rate, which is completely independent of power output and produces a reduction in plant heat (fuel) consumption.

Equation 4. Calculate realization factor (RF). The RF is applied to VHR and Sturtevant, Inc. 348 Circuit Street Hanover, MA 02339 T (800)992-0209 F (781)829-6515

VEFF via the conceptual approach described in Figure 2. E is the efficiency improvement factor, which is defined as percent change in per percent change in P .

POWER June 2013

The More Rigorous Approach
Even after separating plant output and heat consumption effects to arrive at the intrinsic value of heat rate/efficiency improvements, there are still some deficiencies in the evaluation. The traditional LCOE formula does not account for many factors that affect field performance, operability, maintenance, and cost of generation over the economic life of the CC power plant, as was discussed in the June 2011 POWER article. Other factors of interest include annual site ambient and load variation, startstop cycles, unrecoverable degradation, maintenance factors, reliability, emissions, and replacement costs (capacity and energy). A revised and expanded formula to account for all these factors was proposed in that article. Although the new formula introduced in the earlier article is reasonably compact and easy to implement in a spreadsheet for rigorous evaluation of a cycling CC power plant, it does not lend itself to algebraic manipulation to arrive at simple formulas similar to Equations 2 and 3. Thus, in order to evaluate VHR or VEFF (while accounting for the effect of efficiency on plant emissions, maintenance factors, and reliability in a realistic operating scenario, including ambient and load variations) one should simply calculate LCOE for base and improved plants and find the allowable capital cost increase to set the difference between the two equal to zero. The key to the evaluation is to use the same kilowatthours of generation for base and improved LCOE calculations. The higher power output will be reflected in the capacity replacement term and the load factor, which determines the mean-effective plant efficiency, and appears in the fuel and emissions costs. The earlier sample calculation (F-Class CC plant, 500 MW, 58% thermal efficiency, $6 fuel, and 6,000 operating hours per year) is updated for a typical cycling duty (with a capacity factor of ~50% and load factor of ~75%) at a site with annual average temperature of 65F; the assumptions are summarized in Table 1. Values of RF have been calculated for varying efficiency improvement factors, using the calculation procedure described in the previous paragraph. The results are shown in Figure 3. Two items of interest emerge from Figure 3. First, accounting for the real plant capacity factor (~50% instead of 6,000/8,760 = 68.5%) and load factor (~75% instead of base load) results in lower RF at high E and higher RF at low E. In other words, significant efficiency improvement at base load does not translate well into real operation at lower effective load factors. Second, modest efficiency improvement at base load is still modest at such low load factors, but it is not wiped out either. Revisiting the earlier CT compressor upgrade example, RF at E = 0.43% is 0.38 (instead of 0.53), so that the intrinsic value of each basis point net CC efficiency (or each Btu/kWh of CC net heat rate) for this CT compressor upgrade is 0.38 148K = $56K.

Table 1. Parameters used in expanded COE formula. Data is partially

taken from Table 1, A More Useful Way of Calculating the Cost of Electricity, June 2011. Source: Bechtel Parameter Capacity factor Load factor Effective hours/year Effective energy generation Mean-effective output Mean-effective efficiency Specific price Fixed O&M Variable O&M Capacity replacement cost CO2 emissions Reliability Maintenance factor Lifetime average output degradation Lifetime average efficiency degradation Value 51.60% 76.30% 6,302 2,270,000 MWh 360 MW 53.70% $895/kW $15/kW 3.5 mils/kWh $50/kW-yr $15/ton 99% 2.5 4% 2%

3. Realization factors from Equation 4 and from the solution of equalCOE construction using the expanded COE formula. E is the efficiency improvement factor, which is defined as percentage change in h per percent change in P . Plant reliability, maintenance, and degradation factors are kept constant. Source: Bechtel

A Simple Rule of Thumb

Obviously, results will change if a certain improvement is expected to have a favorable (or, more likely, unfavorable) effect on overall plant reliability, maintainability, or performance degradation. Furthermore, only CO2 emissions are considered here, and only at an assumed cost (see Table 1). Penalties associated with other emissions (such as NOx emissions during startup) and their inclusion should also affect the final result. All these factors can be evaluated rigorously by the full application of the expanded COE model and underlying assumptions on a case-by-case basis. For most up-front conceptual studies and back-of-the-envelope-type preliminary evaluations, discounting the heat rate value obtained from the original formula by the factors read from Figure 3 should be sufficient. In fact, for most practical purposes, just using a realization factor of 0.5 across the board is a good first-cut approximation to start the discussion on a given CC performance-cost trade-off topic.

Expanded COE 0.9 0.8

Simple COE

Equation 4 0.7

Realization factor

0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0 0.0% Upgraded GT compressor +0.7% CC output, +0.3% CC eff. E=0.43% 0.2% 0.4% 0.6% 0.8% 1.0% 1.2% 1.4% 0.53


Efficiency improvement factor

June 2013 POWER

S.C. Glen ( is a principal engineer for Bechtel.



Scarce Projects Raise Red Flag for Skilled Labor

A combination of factors, including a relative scarcity of projects, has cut demand for skilled labor in the power generation sector. Despite the lull, workforce retirements are still expected to challenge the industry.
By David Wagman

ike swallows returning to Capistrano or geese flying south in the fall, the cycle of spring and autumn maintenance outages at electric power generating stations is almost a force of nature. Low demand for electricity during shoulder seasons means that units can be shut down for routine repair and upgrades, and then returned to service to meet summer and winter high-demand periods. For a skilled worker, or for a group that supplies labor for an outage, however, that cycling can be both inefficient and maddening. Inefficient because highly skilled craft laborers are often idle between outages. Maddening because the nature of the power generation businessnamely, meeting demand whenever it occurssuggests theres no fix in sight. A concern for years has been that owners conduct outages at the same time, which puts pressure on the supply of labor, said Kevin Hilton, CEO of the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust, which focuses on unionized workforce development. We have to have a trained and available workforce. Convincing a young person to train for what ultimately can be a dirty and physically demanding job that is cyclical at best can be a hard sell. Data show that around 20% of a boilermakers total annual labor comes during the first quarter of the year, said Peter Hessler, president of Construction Business Associates. That percentage grows to 35% during the second quarter (coinciding with the spring outage season); drops to 15% in the third quarter, when most power plants are operating to meet summer demand; and recovers to 30% in a typical fourth quarter, as demand eases and autumn outages ramp up. Thats a heck of a cyclical business that leads some people to wonder why they would want to go into that business, Hessler said. Over the course of a year, he said, a boilermaker may work only two-thirds of the time on power plant outages. Whats more, competition for skilled labor is growing, particularly in the Gulf Coast region, where something of an industrial

construction boom is under way, spurred by recently plentiful oil and natural gas supplies. We are expecting craft shortages to continue to be a strain and actually increase with Gulf Coast refinery work and related projects, said Jim Breland, vice president of Fluor Power Services. Labor shortages will likely continue during the next five years among tube and pipe welders, millwrights, and electrical expertise. Melanie Green, a director at CPS Energy in San Antonio, said one of her biggest challenges is to find workers with skills in plant controls. Boom times in the Texas oil patch have made it more difficult for the utility to compete with wages in the oil sector. Workforce issues in the power generation sector featured prominently as a topic last month during ELECTRIC POWER 2013 in Chicago. Several conference speak-

ers agreed to speak with POWER to extend the discussion beyond the conference. Those interviewed included utility generation asset managers, representatives of organized labor, and professionals like Hessler who help power plants plan for and manage outages. Concerns over the aging electric power workforce have been expressed for years, and much attention focuses on the industrys ability to attract well-trained workers as retirements among older, experienced workers progress. Sean McGarvey, president of The Building Trades, said that his labor organization has 1,300 training centers across the U.S. and spends around $1 billion a year on skills training and curriculum development. If his unions training enrollments were compared to the countrys largest university systems, the craft training network would rank third, he said.

1. Project scarcity. The number of work hours coming from utility projects has dropped
since 2008, the result of many factors that worry groups whose job it is to train a new generation of skilled craft workers. Meanwhile, projects coming from the booming petroleum industry are picking up some of the slack. Source: The Association of Union Construction Utility 45,000,000 40,000,000 35,000,000 30,000,000 Petroleum Chemical

Annual hours

25,000,000 20,000,000 15,000,000 10,000,000 5,000,000 0







POWER June 2013


Project Drought?
A more fundamental question for some, however, is whether some utility work is at a low ebb, the result of multiple forces. For one thing, regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have led to decisions to close thousands of megawatts of coal-fired generating assets, effectively removing them from future maintenance and upgrade projects. Likewise, recent low natural gas prices have left other generating assets economically uncompetitive and idle, meaning their boilers, generators, pumps, and valves need less regular maintenance. The 20082010 recession cut into power demand and led some power generators to defer outages and expansion projects to save money. A related factor is the recent flat trend in wholesale electricity price growth, which has forced many power generators to cut costs, including some maintenance work, to keep their generating assets competitive. Together, these factors have eroded demand for skilled labor in the power generation sector, said Steve Lindauer, CEO of The Association of Union Construction (TAUC), which has around 40,000 members nationwide, a workforce as large as Microsofts. In 2008, more than 40 million work hours for his union members were attributed to electric utility project work, Lindauer said. That added up to around half of all TAUC work hours, which include petroleum, chemical, and several other industries. In 2012, however, work hours related to utility projects fell to fewer than 15 million hours and were eclipsed by work hours in the petroleum sector (Figure 1). The utility industry doesnt have a manpower shortage, because the work is drying up, Lindauer said. Lindauers view was echoed by Gary McKinnon, president of Day & Zimmerman NPS, which provides plant maintenance, modification, and construction services to fossil and nuclear power plants across the U.S. As recently as five years ago, his company worried about how to provide enough labor to meet demand for a long list of projects, including an expected surge in nuclear power plant construction. Today, by contrast, the economic downturn has cut into demand growth, lessening the need for new power plants. Whats more, the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima nuclear station in Japan has helped cool talk of a nuclear renaissance. There are much smaller opportunities today, McKinnon said. With cost cutting top of mind at many power plants, items that can be moved to a later date are being moved. In addition, some power generators have rethought their approach to outages. Many fossilfired generating asset owners learned lessons from the nuclear generating industry, which made strides in recent decades to reduce the length of planned outages. Whereas 30 years ago a nuclear refueling outage might last 90
June 2013 POWER

days, todays average is closer to 21 days. Outage planning at a nuclear facility sometimes begins years in advance, a strategy that has helped to add value to practices such as highly detailed scheduling. There is much more sophistication on the part of fossil owners to plan the work and work the plan, McKinnon said. Starting around 2001, American Electric Power began a process aimed at increasing its cost competitiveness by looking for ways to stretch the time between outages, said Robert A. Osborne, managing director of Field Services at the utility. Some owners of fossilfueled assets are diligent about conducting outages every year or 18 months, he said. By contrast, AEPs outages largely are based on systemic need, an approach bolstered by the fact that many of AEPs generating units are of similar design. This uniformity allows Osbornes in-house Field Services group to better monitor maintenance trends across the utilitys fleet. The 460 craft personnel under Osbornes direction handle almost all of AEPs rotating equipment maintenance work. Other projects are evaluated and taken on only if they add tangible value to the bottom line. If they dont, then the work may be outsourced to a contractor, Osborne said.

Union or Non-Union?
Management issues dont end, however, when an outsourcing agreement is signed. One issue is whether to hire a contractor that uses unionized labor or one that does not. Statistically speaking, union membership is declining, Hessler said. The average guy out of school is not union oriented, he said. Why pay dues and get locked into rules? he asked. One source said that his experience has been mixed, with some non-union contractors outperforming union contractors doing the same work. In recent years, however, his opinion has changed, especially when it comes to some scaffolding and insulation crews. Here, he said, training and overall professionalism appears better among unionized workers.

proves to be a distraction and therefore poses a significant safety problem, he said. One major source of lost productivity is the placement of the break station at an outage site. If 250 workers are on the upper level of a power plant and have to go to the ground level for their morning, lunch, and afternoon breaks, a significant hit to productivity can occur. Thats because workers line up for the elevator to descend, and then line up again at the end of the break to return to work. As a result, a scheduled 30-minute break can stretch to 45 minutes or more and add as much as an hour to the workday. A better approach, Vitale said, is for owners to place a fully stocked break area on the same level as the project itself, if possible. Doing so may reduce the amount of time that is spent waiting for an elevator. With the break area close by, workers simply stop work, walk to the break area, and then walk back to work at the end of the break. A second step that keeps work crews close to the project site is to shut off the elevators altogether at certain times of the day. There is no longer a trek, and this is a major step forward, Vitale said. Its no small accomplishment. As proof, he said that tightening up breaks on one project helped the owner cut what had been a 10-hour work day down to 9 hours. They no longer were seeing coffee breaks equating with 12% of the work day, he said. Instead, breaks took up around 8% of the day, lifting productivity and saving money.

Undeserved Breather
A combination of forces has taken some of the edge off the imperative to find a new generation of workers to replace those who are retiring. You get lulls where outside forces give us an undeserved breather, said McKinnon, noting that the recent recession, among other factors, played a role. Even so, he cautioned that the industry needs to continue paying attention to the workforce issue and looking for creative ways to address it. For example, efforts are under way to entice a new generation beginning as early as elementary school with programs known as Crayons to CAD. Other programs enroll men and women as pipefitter trainees and offer them the equivalent of a two-year degree in construction management as an incentive. Still others look to former members of the armed forces and promote Helmets to Hardhats programs in the construction trades. Despite these initiatives, more folks are leaving than are available to take their place, McKinnon said. Decisions that are made today mean the dividends are a few years out. You cant just flip a switch.

Enhancing Productivity
Many factors can negatively affect workforce productivity during an outage, not just training and professional demeanor. Some appear mundane, but taken together they can have a big effect on completing a job on time and on budget. Those factors include tool crib transactions, morning start meetings, job safety briefings, paperwork, changing dies on pipe-threading machines, crane movements, and waiting for lockout tags on energized equipment, said Charles Vitale, a consultant who spent more than 30 years with a northeastern utility and the last 16 measuring and analyzing outage productivity. In recent years, text messaging during work hours has affected productivity; it

David Wagman is executive editor of POWER.


Varnish Removal System


Oil Filtration Systems introduced a new series of oil purication equipment to remove varnish from hydraulic and lubrication oils. By utilizing the two leading varnish mitigation technologies, a single varnish removal system (VRS) can remove either soluble varnish or suspended varnish from oil. VRS equipment employs granular adsorbent media to remove soluble varnish found in warm oil at normal operating temperatures of 100F and higher. At cooler temperatures (typically under 70F), varnish is in suspension and can be removed by depth media lter elements. The VRS housing accepts either media, giving an end user the exibility to effectively remove either type of varnish. The VRS is ideal for purifying turbine lube oil (for Frame 7FA and 7EA gas turbines), hydraulic oil, Fryquel EHC uid, paper machine oil, compressor oil, and oil for many other types of rotating equipment. (

Flange-Spreading Wedges Multi-Gun Valve

NLB Corp. introduced the MGV24-1200, a new multi-gun valve that allows two or more high-pressure water jet lances (or other accessories) to be operated from the same 24,000 psi pump unit and can be rebuilt in the eld in just ve minutes. The MGV24-1200 can be used with any dump-style lance, and the lances can have nozzles of different sizes. The valve operates at pressures up to 24,000 psi (1,680 bar) and ows up to 24 gallons per minute (gpm)12 gpm per operatorand weighs just 33 pounds. The MGV24-1200 not only allows two operators to independently control the loading and dumping of pressure to their own lances but also introduces a modular design that accommodates additional bodies to supply more lances. It also features NLBs quick-change, stainless steel cartridge for ve-minute eld repair and a new cam-lock pressure adjuster that locks the pressure without tools. ( Equalizer International introduced SWi range, what it claims is the worlds most powerful ange spreading wedges. Designed to decrease downtime and provide a safe, efcient, and cost-effective way to access and spread ange joints, the tools are capable of generating a spreading force of up to 25T and the SWi range includes a hydraulic (SWi20/25TE), integral hydraulic (SWi20/25TI), and mechanical (SWi12/14TM) version. They have been designed with no nger pinch points on the moving parts. Even though the weight has been decreased, Equalizer has included the additional safety feature of a lanyard. Their size and portable nature make them effective even in areas with restricted access. (www.


POWER June 2013


Pre-Engineered Robotic Welding Cells

ESAB Welding & Cutting Products introduced three models of the new Swift Arc series of pre-engineered, robotic welding cells: Swift Arc AL (angle-load), Swift Arc FL (front-load), and Swift Arc SL (side-load) robot cells. Each system is an economic conguration for a complete work cell and is ideal for job shops introducing robotics to their applications. The complete robotic system is delivered ready-to-weld. Just hook up the input power, gas, and wire to start welding. The stateof-the-art welding power source and wire feeder are offered as standard components, designed to minimize spatter and burn-through on thin materials. TruArc Voltage is another standard feature offered to provide accurate voltage information for critical welding. Other standard features include harmonized motion between the robot and external axes, open architecture Windows HMI, easy teaching with the PC-based controller, constant wrist orientation function, and electronic mastering for quick calibration. (

Electronic Voltage Detector

HD Electric Co.s new single-range TAG-200, multi-range TAG-200MR, and single-range TAG-330 are electronic voltage detectors designed for detecting distribution and transmission voltages. These direct contact type detectors emit both audible and visual indications when placed in contact with an energized conductor. TAGs are designed for overhead and underground applications with optional underground bushing probes. (

Ram Position Sensors

Alliance Sensors Group launched the MR Series of linear position sensors for use in measuring the ram position of hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders. The MR Series is designed to be a drop-in form, t, and function replacement for magnetostrictive sensors but with much more robust construction and a lower cost of ownership, specically targeting port-mounted applications of industrial, mobile, or subsea hydraulic cylinders and large pneumatic actuators. MR Series sensors are based on a patented contactless inductive sensing technology that employs a solid probe construction style that requires only a simple conductive tubular target or a small-diameter deep-hole gun drilled in the cylinder rod for operation rather than needing a permanent magnet ring or some other type of special target. Because these sensors use a simple coil design rather than time-ofight technology, the MR Series sensors can withstand intense shocks and vibration as well as operating temperatures up to 85C for standard products and 125C for custom units. Resembling a magnetostrictive sensor with its sensor head and male o-ring port threads, an MR sensor has a shorter stroke-to-probe length ratio and can thread into the same o-ring bosses (either SAE J1926-8 or ISO 6149-1 M18) that accept a magnetostrictive sensor. (

Inclusion in New Products does not imply endorsement by POWER magazine.

June 2013 POWER



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CONTACT: Diane Burleson PHONE 512-250-9555 FAX 512-213-4855 |


POWER June 2013

50/60Hz, nat gas or liq fuel, installation and service available Available for Immediate Shipment Tel: +1 281.227.5687 Fax: +1 281.227.5698


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June 2013 POWER


Coal Combustion & Cofiring Biomass Guidebook

This guidebook exclusively features coal combustion coring biomass articles, including full charts, photographs, graphs and step-by-step instructions, previously featured in POWER magazine. Table of Contents:
How accurate primary airow measurements improve plant performance Research and development for future coal generation Coal-red generation cost and performance trends Apply the fundamentals to improve emissions performance Designing and upgrading plants to blend coal To optimize performance, begin at the pulverizer Dynamic classiers improve pulverizer performance and more Managing air to improve combustion ecienty Boiler optimization increases fuel exibility Finesing fuel neness Boiler tuning basics, part I Boiler tuning basics, part II Blueprint your pulberizer for improved performance Measuring coal pipe ow Air preheater eal upgrades renew plant eciency The better environmental option: dry ash conversion technology Long-term catalyst health care Catalyst regeneration: The business case Constructing Marylands rst permitted landll for coal combustion byproducts A burning concern: Combustible dust Proactive strategies for dealing with combustible dust Designing and maintaining steam coil air preheaters for reliability and eectiveness Biomass coring: another way to clean your coal OPG Charts move from coal to biomass Drax oers model for coring biomass Designing fuel systems for large biomass plants Biomass coring: A promising new generation option

Available in a PDF format. 128 pages.

Order your copy online at or call 888-707-5808


Advertisers Index
Enter reader service numbers on the FREE Product Information Source card in this issue.

Reader Service Number

Reader Service Page Number

Magnetrol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 . . . . . . . . . 2 MAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 . . . . . . . 15 Marrone Bio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 . . . . . . . 25 Mitsubishi Power Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 . . . . . . . . . 4 NEM Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 . . . . . . . 17 Nord-Lock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 . . . . . . . 18 Paharpur . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 . . . . . . . 14 Parkline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 . . . . . . . 27 Phillips 66 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 . . . . . . . . . 3 ProEnergy Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cover 4 . . . . . 29 Siemens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cover 2 . . . . . . 1 STF S.p.A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 . . . . . . . 20 Structural Integrity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 . . . . . . . 12 Sturtevant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 . . . . . . . 32

Aitken Spence Power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cover 3 . . . . . 28 AMEC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 . . . . . . . 21 ASME . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 . . . . . . . 24 Baldor Electric. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 . . . . . . . . 7 Burns & McDonnell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 . . . . . . . 10 Carboline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 . . . . . . . . 8 Caterpillar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 . . . . . . . . 9 CB&I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 . . . . . . . 30 Cutsforth Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 . . . . . . . 16 Elgin Sweeper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 . . . . . . . 23 Fluke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 . . . . . . . . . 5 Fluor Corp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 . . . . . . . 11 HACH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 . . . . . . . 22 Harco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 . . . . . . . 26 Hytorc Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 . . . . . . . 13 I.M.P.A.C.T. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 . . . . . . . 31 Insituform . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 . . . . . . . 19 Kiewit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 . . . . . . . . 6

Classified Advertising
Pages 68-69. To place a classified ad, contact Diane Burleson, 512-250-9555,

From the editors of POWER: The online magazine devoted to the coal-fired power generation industry
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June 2013 POWER



EPA to Limit Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction Defense

By Karl A. Karg

n Feb. 22, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule, 78 Fed. Reg. 12459, that will require 36 states to eliminate an exemption to Clean Air Act (CAA) emission requirements for exceedances that occur during periods of startup, shutdown, or malfunction (SSM). The proposed rule (SSM rule) will have a significant impact across numerous industries, including electric utilities, oil and gas operations, and industrial and manufacturing facilities where combustion units are used and permitted under the CAA.

unplanned event but not for excess emissions that occur when a facility is operating in a planned startup or shutdown mode. (See 78 FR 12469-70 and Luminant Generation v. EPA, 42 ELR 20163. No. 10-60934, 5th Cir., July 30, 2012.)

Startup Exemption Challenged For decades, facilities have used the SSM defense in reporting emissions exceedances to permit authorities, and in response to enforcement actions by the EPA, states, and citizen groups. During periods of startup and shutdown, certain factors such as temperature and combustion efficiency can lead to emission exceedances, particularly for opacity, at coal- and oil-fired boilers and other emission units. Similarly, many control devices such as selective catalytic reduction and baghouses require elevated temperature and a supply of steam before they operate properly to control emission. During periods of startup or shutdown, the control devices are simply not operable. Given these technical realities, many state implementation plans (SIPs) expressly provide an affirmative defense or some other form of protection for SSM exceedances. However, citizen groups like Sierra Club kept the pressure on the EPA, and the SSM rule responds to a 2011 petition for rulemaking by Sierra Club and a successful challenge to the EPAs SSM rules for hazardous air pollutants. (See Sierra Club v. EPA, 551 F.3d 1019, D.C. Cir. 2008.) If finalized as proposed, the EPAs SSM rule will require 36 states to revise their SIPs under a SIP call. In statutory terms, the EPAs administrator may issue a SIP call, where the EPA determines that a SIP is substantially inadequate to meet the requirements of the CAA. Under the SSM rule, the EPA argues that the CAA requires SIPs to contain emission limitations to meet the requirements of the act, and that emission limitations are defined as continuous. The use of an automatic exemption for SSM events, the EPA argues, is contrary to a fundamental requirement of the CAA, and any SIP utilizing the automatic SSM exemption is therefore substantially inadequate. The 36 states subject to the SIP call will have 18 months from promulgation of the final rule to remove exemptions for SSM events, remove affirmative defenses for startup and shutdown events, and modify malfunction affirmative defenses so that they are consistent with EPA guidance on malfunctions. An affirmative defense for malfunctions can remain in the SIP provided the excess emissions occur when a facility is experiencing an

Ignoring Reality While the EPA has been cautioning states since 1982 that wholesale affirmative defenses for SSM exceedances are not acceptable, and that SIP submittals containing such express language would be disapproved, some of the guidance has been ambiguous. (See 1982, 1983, 1999, and 2001 EPA SSM Guidance.) Indeed, the 1999 SSM Guidance acknowledged that malfunctions could occur during periods of startup and shutdown, and that SIPs could contain affirmative defenses for such events, even though the startup or shutdown itself was a planned event. The agencys SSM rule reverses that interpretation and eliminates any possibility of an affirmative defense during periods of startup and shutdown, regardless of the cause of the exceedance. Instead, because the event itself (startup or shutdown) is planned, any emissions exceedances during the event are considered violations of the CAA. The EPA says it has reevaluated its position and now believes that the ability and obligation of sources to anticipate and to plan for routine events such as startup and shutdown negates the justification for relief from monetary penalties for violations during those events. Unfortunately, from a technical perspective, the ability to plan for periods of startup or shutdown does not mean that sources now have a panacea against resulting emission exceedances. Respectfully, the EPAs commentary on this issue gives short shrift to the technical realities many sources face. The agency says that because starting up and shutting down are part of normal operation and not beyond the control of the operator, sources should be expected to comply with the CAA. The EPA claims that sources can anticipate the amount of excess emissions and take appropriate steps to limit those emissions as needed and maintain continuous compliance. But how do they do that, EPA? If the unit and its associated control equipment dont work properly during periods of startup or shutdown, what appropriate steps can be taken? The problem lies in the EPAs assumption that periods of startup and shutdown are part of normal operation. While periods of startup and shutdown may be regular events (as in planned outages), they are not periods of normal operation because emission control equipment is not operating normally. That was the whole point of the SSM defense in the first place. Karl A. Karg ( is a partner in the Chicago office of the law firm of Latham & Watkins LLP.
POWER June 2013