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BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY FOR THE GLOBAL GENERATION INDUSTRY SINCE 1882

Vol. 161 No. 4 April 2017

Improved O&M Strategies


and Outage Best Practices

Connected Plants Are Becoming


Mainstream
Cyber Concerns and Solutions
E
SU
IS

U.S. Nuclears Uphill Battle


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OF MANUFACTURING INNOVATION

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ON THE COVER
Experts train at GEs full-size 7F gas
turbine outage simulator in Greenville,
South Carolina. The simulator provides
the opportunity to test advanced outage
methods and technologies in a near real-
world environment. Courtesy: GE
Established 1882 Vol. 161 No. 4 April 2017

SPEAKING OF POWER
Whether Man-Made or Not, Global Warming Is a Problem 6
GLOBAL MONITOR
Who Has the Worlds Most Efficient Coal Power Plant Fleet? 8
Chinas Nuclear Expansion Mired in Overcapacity 9
THE BIG PICTURE: Prevailing Winds 10
A Wrap-Up of the Energy Unions Second Year 12
India Gears Up to Expand Fast Breeder Reactor Fleet 13
POWER Digest 14
FOCUS ON O&M
Using Rotor-In Major Inspections to Shorten Outages and Drive Safety 16
Dissimilar-Metal Weld Is a Misnomer 18
LEGAL & REGULATORY
The Future of Clean Energy Is Dependent on States and Utilities 20
By Tahiya Sultan, Davis Wright Tremaine
16
COVER FOCUS: OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE
The Future Is Now: Connected Power Plants Are Here 22
Innovative power generators are utilizing the latest digital technology to im-
prove plant efficiency, predict equipment problems, forecast weather trends,
and train workers. Experts share their experiences and offer tips to help you
get your plant safely connected.

Reducing Cycling Damage to Combined Cycle Steam Turbines 28


Cyclic operation can be hazardous to a combined cycle power plants health,
and the consequences go beyond gas turbine and heat recovery steam gen-
erator problems. The Electric Power Research Institute studied the effects cy-
cling has on steam turbines and identified some solutions for coping with the
complications.

Facilitating Predictive Maintenance of Electrical Assets with


Pervasive Sensing Strategies 32
Electrical failures can be traced to three main causes: Conductor overheating,
insulation breakdown, and high moisture levels. However, continuous condi-
28
tion-based monitoring can alert operators to minor problems before they re-
sult in major breakdowns. Wireless passive sensor systems are easy to install
and require no maintenance, making them worth considering.

New Approaches for Transformer Operation and Maintenance 38


When a large power transformer fails, your plant goes down hard. Repairs
take time and cost a lot. Lead times for new transformers can be many months
or even years. Although not all problems are predictablegeomagnetic dis-
turbances being a case in pointa proactive philosophy and advanced diag-
nostics could still save plants a lot of heartache.

Enhanced Boiler Defense Strategies for an Aging Coal Fleet 42


Optimizing coal-fired power plants has never been more important than it is
today. With low-cost natural gas and the growth of renewable energy, market
conditions require efficient operations. One way to keep your fleet competi-
tive is to implement a combustion and boiler performance management pro-
gram.
32
|
April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 1
Strategies for Small Hydro Upgrades 48
Upgrading older, small hydropower facilities isnt always easy to justify, but
new technology can make enhancements worthwhile. Modern modular sys-
tems can decrease construction time and complexity, while turbine and gen-
erator refurbishments can lead to big efficiency improvements.

Simplify Outage Planning to Increase Collaboration 51


A lot of work goes into planning power plant outages. Defining work scopes,
reviewing budgets, evaluating bids, and issuing purchase orders are all steps
along the way. Getting teams engaged in the process is vital to success. One
method that has worked well at some NRG Energy sites involves asking
straightforward questions that drive accountability.

The Oft-Neglected Isolated Phase Bus Deserves Your Attention 54


The isolated phase bus is a critical system that is frequently overlooked dur-
48 ing power plant outages. Performing a thorough inspection during minor
downtime can allow potential problems to be identified so repair and retrofit
work can be planned for and carried out during major outages.

SPECIAL REPORT: CYBERSECURITY


Cybersecurity: Keeping Current on a Moving Target 56
If you found a USB drive lying on the ground, would you use it? Surprisingly,
the answer for many people, including some highly trained IT professionals,
is Yes. If you think air-gaps and firewalls will keep your power plant safe,
think again!

NUCLEAR
U.S. Nuclear: From Hope to Despair 60
Not long ago, the future seemed bright for the U.S. nuclear power indus-
try; many power companies extended plant licenses and contemplated new
nuclear construction. That has all changed. Regulated markets and subsidies
56 may keep some plants viable, but it appears more is needed to save the in-
dustry. Is a carbon tax the answer?

LUBRICATION
High-Performance Oil Reduces Varnish and Saves Money for Gas Turbine
Power Plant
Lube oil systems in peaking power plants can be more susceptible to var-
nish deposits because of the cyclic circulation of hotter and cooler oil. Varnish
degrades performance and can cause erratic valve operation. One new lube
oil formulation proved successful in countering the problem during a five-
year test run at a dual-unit gas turbine plant. (Visit powermag.com and search
High-Performance Oil for this online-only exclusive!)

COMMENTARY
Reports of the Electric Grids Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated 68
By Russell P. Schussler, PE; and Jill S. Tietjen, PE; Georgia Transmission Corp.

60
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POWER April 2017
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SPEAKING OF POWER

Whether Man-Made or Not,


Global Warming Is a Problem
recently bought a house in southwest- it could be serious enough that action that in California and other regions.) If

I ern Florida, but not without some reser-


vations. Dont get me wrong, I love the
palm trees and sandy beaches, but what
should be taken.

Data Implies Trouble


flooding strikes your area, how protected
is your facility? At what level would ex-
cess water force you to shut down? Are the
worries me is the areas sea-level trend, as There is a lot of evidence suggesting that flood estimates youre relying on outdated?
reported by the U.S. National Oceanic and climate change is real. Independent analy- At the opposite end of the spectrum, will
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). sis, conducted by both NASA and NOAA, you have enough water to operate? Do you
You see, in the area where I purchased, showed that the Earths 2016 surface tem- have a contingency plan?
NOAA says sea level is rising 2.85 mil- peratures were the warmest logged since Plants that rely on dry-cooling sys-
limeters per year. It doesnt sound like modern recordkeeping began in 1880. Last tems may face scenarios that are nearly
much, but my home is 11.9 feet above year was the third year in a row to set a as troubling. Ambient temperatures have
mean sea level, according to the National new record for global average surface tem- a drastic effect on heat rejection rates in
Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929. If the peratures, and 16 of the 17 warmest years air-cooled condensers (ACCs). At least one
current trend continues, the property on record have occurred since 2001, ac- study suggests ACC performance decreases
I purchased will be below sea level in cording to NASA. nearly 21% when ambient temperature in-
about 100 years. Although I dont plan In mid-February, NOAA reported that creases from 71F to 82F. Turbine backpres-
to live that long, my house doesnt need sea ice extent on both poles was the sure increases with ambient temperatures,
to be under water for it to be worth- smallest ever recorded in January. Arctic resulting in a significant efficiency pen-
less; extreme weather and storm surges sea ice was 8.6% below the 19812010 alty. One remedy, the use of water spray,
could devastate the place long before the average and Antarctic sea ice was a whop- can help achieve performance goals, but
ocean engulfs it. ping 22.8% below average. If thats not that goes counter to the reason why many
enough, on March 1 Reuters reported that ACCs are utilized in the first placelack
Global Warming Is Not a Partisan a new heat record was recently set near of water resources.
Issue the northern tip of the Antarctic Penin- Heat is tough on workers too. Ambi-
We could debate whether humans are to sulait hit 63.5F there, according to the ent conditions inside power plants can
blame for climate change, but that is not World Meteorological Organization. be quite extreme, even on typical summer
the point of this column. Although it does The U.S. Geological Survey estimates days. If temperatures increase in the fu-
matter why the Earth is warming, and that nearly 90% of the Earths ice mass ture, how will your workers cope with heat
more should be done to put the question is in Antarctica. If even 10% of that ice stress?
to rest, the first step has to be acknowl- melted, sea level would rise 20 feet. Ob- Finally, a recently released paper, pub-
edging that we have a problem. viously, such an increase would result in lished in the Proceedings of the National
A person need not be an environmen- chaos around the world, because hundreds Academy of Sciences of the United States
tal extremist to observe that the Earths of millions of people live in low-lying of America, suggests that climate change
average temperature is increasing. As Ken coastal regions. According to NOAA, 39% will have severe impacts on the frequen-
Maize notes in his article, U.S. Nuclear: of the U.S. population lives in counties cy and intensity of peak electricity de-
From Hope to Despair, which begins on that border the ocean. mand across the United States. The study
page 59 of this issue, several well-respect- found that significant investment in peak
ed GOP statesmen believe, Mounting evi- Failing to Plan Is Planning to Fail generating capacity would be needed un-
dence of climate change is growing too For the power industry, the question of der a business-as-usual scenario. Is your
strong to ignore. what to do with this information is a good company prepared to meet the demand if
New Secretary of State Rex Tillerson one. At the very least, companies need to hotter weather causes higher peaks or are
seems to also be a believer. During his consider options for hardening assets and changes in strategy warranted?
confirmation hearing, Tillerson, the for- preparing for weather changes. A variety As for me, Ive got my backup plan. Even
mer CEO of ExxonMobil (a company with of questions could be asked to which the though I purchased a house in Florida, Im
more than a little at stake in the debate), answers may help power companies pre- not letting go of my Minnesota property
said, I came to my personal position over pare for the future. just yet. If temperatures continue to in-
about 20 years as an engineer and a scien- For example, what effect will extreme crease, the Midwest could become the
tistunderstanding the evolution of the weather patterns have on plant operations? next tropical paradise and I may be happy
sciencecame to the conclusion a few Some experts predict that wild swings be- I have a place to go back to.
years ago that the risk of climate change tween drought and flooding will occur more Aaron Larson is POWERs
does exist and that the consequences of frequently. (Weve already seen glimpses of executive editor.

6 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
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Who Has the Worlds Most for limited water resources in some ar-
Efficient Coal Power Plant 1. Clean coal crown. Unit 2 at J-POW- eas, localized pollution control, and a
Fleet? ERs Isogo Thermal Power Station, a 600-MW surge in the development of renewables,
A comparison of coal power plant fleets ultrasupercritical unit in Yokohama, Japan, which can reduce the profitability of
ranks as the cleanest coal-fired power plant
from China, the European Union (EU), Ja- coal-fired power plants, the IEA says.
in the world in terms of emission intensity,
pan, and the U.S. by the International with levels comparable to those from a natu-
The EU Is Weighed Down by an
Energy Agencys (IEAs) Clean Coal Cen- ral gasfired combined cycle plant. According Aging Fleet. Several countries in the
tre yields surprising insights into efforts to the International Energy Agencys Clean EU have moved to phase out coal en-
these regions are making to deploy high- Coal Centre, the units average emissions are tirely (See The Big Picture in POWERs
efficiency, low-emission (HELE) plants. in the single digits for NOx and SO2, and less March 2017 issue), and few new coal-
The December 2016released report, than five milligrams per cubic meter for par- fired plants are being planned and built.
An overview of HELE deployment in the ticulate matter. Courtesy: J-POWER However, the blocs average coal-fired
coal power plant fleets of China, EU, Ja- plant efficiency is a noteworthy 38%,
pan and USA, compares data from exist- even though a significant proportion of
ing plants of 300 MW or larger, as well as its fleet is relatively old, the IEA says.
those under construction and planned. It One of the EUs most advanced coal-fired
also sizes them up according to deployed plants is the 1,100-MW ultrasupercritical
technology, age, and installed pollution Maasvlakte Power Plant 3 in the Nether-
control equipment. lands. That unit, which entered service
It concludes that the coal fleet in Ja- in 2015, has an efficiency of 47%. It can
pan is the most efficient in the world, cofire up to 30% biomass, is carbon-cap-
followed by China, the EU, and finally, ture ready, and can supply district heat.
the U.S. The EU will require all coal-fired power
Japan Leads the Pack. Japans fleet, plants that operate after 2030 to employ
which is relatively young as the report carbon-capture-and-storage technology,
notes, has an average operational effi- the IEA notes. However, while the EU is
ciency of 41.6%, calculated using lower conducting notable research and devel-
heating value (LHV, net; as are efficiency opment on advanced ultrasupercritical
values given below). Most coal plants in technology, construction of new coal-
Japans fleet are HELE plants. Accord- fired power plants in the EU could be
ing to the report, Japan also hosts the hindered by a low carbon price under the
worlds cleanest coal-fired power plant emissions trading system.
in terms of emissions intensity: Unit 2 at Efficiency Lags in U.S., but Future
J-POWERs Isogo Thermal Power Station Is Promising. As this story goes into
(Figure 1), a 600-MW ultrasupercritical production in early March, startup and
unit in Yokohama, which began commer- commissioning activities continued at
cial operations in July 2009. (The project the Kemper County Integrated Gasifica-
was a POWER Top Plant in October 2010). tion Combined Cycle facility in Missis-
China Is Not Far Behind. In China, sippi. No other coal plants are under
a government crackdown to shackle ram- construction in the U.S. The nations coal
pant air pollution and shutter small, fleet has instead seen a marked move to-
aging, and less-efficient coal plants, as ward pollution control systems for NOx,
well as soaring investments in research SOx, and particulate matter, driven large-
and development (R&D) of advanced coal ly by regulations, the IEA says. But the
technology, have transformed its energy fleet is still dominated by relatively old
sector, the IEA says. The countrys coal- matter] and SO2 control equipment, and units, both subcritical and supercritical.
fired fleet has an average operational almost all have NOx removal devices. All Its average efficiency is around 37.4%.
efficiency of 38.6%higher than the coal-fired plants will have to be ultra- The most efficient coal-fired unit in the
average across IEA member countries. low-emission by 2020. The agency pegs country is the 665-MW John Turk Jr. plant
R&D, notably, allowed the country to de- Chinas successes on the rapid imple- in Arkansas (POWERs Plant of the Year
sign and build the double-reheat 1,000- mentation of tight environmental and in 2013), which achieves an efficiency of
MW ultrasupercritical Guodian Taizhou II performance standards, combined with 42%. It is the nations only ultrasuper-
Unit 3, the IEA says. The unit has been available finance for coal-fired projects critical unit.
in operation since September 2015, and and subsidies for energy generated from However, this January, NRG Energy
it reaches an efficiency of 47.82%, the ultra-low emission power plants. The and JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration
highest globally for a double-reheat country is facing critical barriers to an Corp. began operation of the Petra Nova
plant. The IEA also notes: Every Chinese expansion of its coal fleet, however, ow- project, the worlds largest commercial
power plant is equipped with [particulate ing to power overcapacity, competition post-combustion carbon capture system.

8 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
The IEA notes that various other carbon-
capture projects are under way. R&D on 2. A gradual operation. The operation of Taishan 1 and 2, the first two reactors to be
built in China based on AREVAs EPR design, has been delayed by six months. Courtesy: China
advanced ultrasupercritical, hybrid coal,
General Nuclear Power Group
and oxycombustion and chemical-looping
combustion is also ongoing. As coal is
still predicted to have a significant place
in the future energy mix of the USA (21%
in 2030 and 18% in 2040) it is possible
that once new technologies are dem-
onstrated, old coal-fired units could be
replaced with new systems, the IEA con-
cludes optimistically. Additionally, with
a market for CO2 in enhanced oil recovery
(EOR), relevant R&D, tax incentives and
federal support for carbon capture, utili-
sation and storage, the USA is currently a
leader in these areas.

Chinas Nuclear Expansion


Mired in Overcapacity
China has brought 24 of its 36 operating
nuclear reactors online at a breakneck
pace since 2010, but there are signs it
may roll out future plants that are still
under construction more slowly, owing in nuclear capacity by 2020, compared to reactors are imported. These include four
part to a power capacity glut that shows the current 32.6 GW it has installed as of AP1000 reactors designed by Westing-
no sign of relenting until at least 2020. March 2017. Of the 23 GW (from 21 reac- house and two EPRs developed by AREVA.
The country wants to install 58 GW of tors) that is under construction, only six All six are facing delays. China General

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|
April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 9
THE BIG PICTURE: Prevailing Winds
Total global installed capacity of wind power surged to nearly 487 GW at the end of 2016. Over the past five years, China
has taken an ever-larger share of the market, dominating onshore and offshore installations in 2016. Chinese wind
turbine manufacturers have also made big gains in market share in a sector increasingly characterized by mergers. In
2016, a strong breakaway group of three companies emerged within the worlds wind turbine market, with a fairly
tight field following, noted David Hostert, head of wind research for Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), in February.
Siemens Wind and Gamesa, which are in the process of merging, will join the big four dominant group, he said.
Copy and artwork by Sonal Patel, a POWER associate editor

Brazil

Canada
15.5%
1.9% China
2.2%
2.4% 34.7% France
1.7%
13.6% 2.5% Germany
2.2% 26.3%
2.7% 3%
2.8% India
2.9% 4.7%
6.7% Italy
5.9% 16.9%
19.7% 10.3%
9.1% Portugal
12.2%
Spain

UK
TOP 10 CUMULATIVE CAPACITY TOP 10 CUMULATIVE CAPACITY
U.S.
(DECEMBER 2011) (DECEMBER 2016)
238,351 MW 486,749 MW Rest of the world
Source: Global Wind Energy Council

TOP ONSHORE TURBINE TOP OFFSHORE TURBINE


MANUFACTURERS IN 2016 (GW) MANUFACTURERS IN 2016 (MW)

Vestas 8.8 Sewind 489


GE 6.6 152
Siemens
Goldwind 6.4
Goldwind 57
Gamesa 3.7
Enercon 3.5 Envision 50
Nordex Group 2.7 XEMC 40
Guodian 2.2 30
GE
Siemens 2.1
Doosan 9
Ming Yang 1.96
Envision 1.9 CSIC 5

Asia/Pacific Americas Europe/Middlle East/Africa


Source: BNEF

10 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
Gas Turbine
Major Experts
Mechanical Dynamics & Analysis was contracted under a forced outage condition to
perform a Major Overhaul on a combined cycle sites MS5001PA gas turbine, as well
as remove, test and inspect the generator field. As the equipment was a critical asset,
MD&A was successful in performing this work in a few weeks turnaround.

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PARTS | SERVICES | REPAIRS


Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of China Gen-
eral Nuclear, in February told investors 3. Interconnecting markets. The European Council in October 2014 called for all 28
that after conducting a comprehensive members of the European Union to achieve interconnection of at least 10% of their installed
electricity production capacity by 2020. It has proposed to extend this target to 15% by 2030.
evaluation of the engineering and con-
The measure seeks to increase reliability, reduce the need to build new power plants, and help
struction plan and relevant risk, it opted grids manage increasing levels of variable renewables. Heres how interconnectivity looked in
to postpone the start of two EPRs at Tais- July 2016 compared to goals for 2020. Courtesy: European Commission
han (Figure 2) by six months. Now, Tais-
han 1 is scheduled to start in the second
half of 2017 and Taishan 2 in the first Today Potential by 2020
half of 2018. The reactors were originally
anticipated to come online in 2009 and
2012, respectively.
Westinghouses construction of four
AP1000 reactors in China, two each at
Sanmen in Zhejiang province and Hai-
yang in Shandong, are reportedly near-
ing completion, though they too have
been beset by delays ranging from three
to four years, mostly owing to design
changes. While construction kicked off at
Sanmen Unit 1 in April 2009, and in Sep-
tember 2009 at Haiyang, all four reactors
are slated to be operational by the end
of this year.
n Countries meeting the 10% electricity interconnection target
But while those delays are techni- n Countries not meeting the 10% electricity interconnection target
cal, industry observers note that the
slowdown in electricity demand has left said Xizhou Zhou, senior director at IHS pean Union (EU) provide secure, sustain-
China with a huge power capacity sur- Energy. This means Chinas power con- able, competitive, and affordable energy,
plus that has forced some nuclear plants sumption overall is going to shift into the 28-member bloc is seeing a precipi-
to compete with cheap coal and a flood the slow-moving lane for several more tous drop in renewables investments,
of renewables. In October 2016, for ex- years to come. though it remains on track to meet 2020
ample, Chinadialogue reported that the The capacity glut has already affected targets.
Hongyanhe 3 unit in Liaoning operated Chinas coal power sector. In part to stem The second State of the Energy
for only 987 hours in the first quarter of overcapacity, Chinas National Energy Ad- Union report released this February
2016 (at 45% availability), while reac- ministration this January ordered the ces- outlined several trends and policy ob-
tors in Fujian and Hainan were shut down sation or postponement of 104 coal-fired servations. The most prominent of these
temporarily. POWER was unable to con- power projects in 13 provincesa com- were that the EU as a whole is making
firm the report. bined 120 GW. About 54 GW of that capac- good progress on delivering the En-
According to a November 2016 IHS En- ity was reportedly under construction. ergy Unions 10 objectives, particularly
ergy report, Chinas power companies put IHS Energy notes that because Chinas as they relate to the 2020 energy and
online 149 GW of new capacity, of all fuel Renewable Energy Law mandates that all climate targets. In 2015, greenhouse gas
types, in 2015 alonea number repre- renewables must dispatch to the grid, (GHG) emissions in the EU were 22% be-
senting about 40% of total global capac- and additions of wind and solar projects low the 1990 level and continued to fall.
ity additionseven though the countrys have been rapid, other fuel sources have Based on 2014 data, the EUs share of re-
electricity demand growth fell to only been suffering. For nuclear and hydro es- newables reached 16% of the gross final
0.5%, the slowest since 1998. IHS Energy pecially, average utilization hours have energy consumption, slightly short of the
also predicted in the report that another been dropping for the past two years. 20% goal for 2020. In 2014, meanwhile,
110 GW of new plants would come on- The only fuel type that may see an renewables generated 27.5% of the EUs
line in 2016, a figure that factored in increase in capacity factor is natural total power, a figure that the European
project cancellations and delays. Looking gas, IHS Energy predicted. This is likely Commission anticipates could climb to
forward, the report suggests that power due to anti-smog policies along coastal 50% by 2030.
demand may be 16.7% higher in 2020 provinces. As coal is restricted in these The EU also made progress to success-
compared to 2015, but that total genera- areas, gas is increasingly been used in fully decouple economic growth from
tion capacity will likely surge even more, combined heat and power plants to pro- GHG emissions. During the 19902015
between 22% and 30%. As a result, the vide not just electricity but also heating period, the European Unions combined
system reserve margin will still be higher and steam for municipal and industrial Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by
in 2020 than in 2015, the information customers, it said. 50%, while emissions decreased by 22%,
and analytics company said. the report says. This decoupling is ex-
The divergence in power demand be- pected to continue under current trends
tween Chinas domestic sector and heavy A Wrap-Up of the Energy and projections.
industries will become even more pro- Unions Second Year In line with the blocs general ambi-
nounced as the country continues its piv- Two years after the Energy Union was tions to move away from an economy
ot toward a more service-led economy, launched as a strategy to help the Euro- dependent on fossil fuels, the EU also

12 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
ratified the Paris agreement and imple- vestment in renewables has dropped by struction, and operation of the countrys
mented key proposals to deliver on the half since 2011 to 44 billion, the report nuclear power reactors, will build two
2030 climate and energy framework, in- says. That compares to global invest- prototype fast-breeder reactors (PF-
cluding for sectors covered by the EUs ments in renewables, which have in- BRs) at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu. The
Emissions Trading System, and outside creased to more than 260 billion. site already hosts a 500-MW PFBR that
of it. It also proposed a binding EU-level is expected to be fully operational this
target of 30% for improving energy ef- October.
ficiency by 2030. Over the past year, India Gears Up to Expand The government body said in early
meanwhile, work was launched on inte- Fast Breeder Reactor February that the two PFBRs of 600 MW
gral interconnection projects such as the Fleet each are still in the engineering phase.
Trans Adriatic Pipeline, and financing Indias Department of Atomic Energy, Construction of the reactors could begin
agreements were signed for gas intercon- the entity responsible for research, con- by 2021, by which time adequate per-
nectors between Finland and Estonia as
well as for a gas pipeline through Bul-
garia, Romania, Hungary, and Austria.
But the EU still suffers from bottle-
necks due to missing or underused
infrastructure, the report says. Inter-
connections and, where relevant, internal
lines are still needed to further integrate
the internal electricity market in South
Western Europe and in Northern and East-
ern Europe (e.g. Germany, Poland and the
DEDICATED TO DELIVERING
Czech Republic) and the management
of these interconnections must be im-
CRITICAL POWER WHERE
proved. It also notes that work towards
the synchronization of the Baltic States
WERE NEEDED MOST.
with the European electricity system
should continue (Figure 3). The 15%
electricity interconnection target for
2030 should ensure, provided that this
capacity is made available to the mar-
ket, that the European Union can make
optimal use of its renewable resources,
ensure security of supply and market in-
tegration.
Member states made good progress in
opening up wholesale markets to compe-
tition, but many of them have not fully
implemented necessary rules that allow
for competitive and liquid markets, the
report also notes. At a regional level,
largely driven by falling coal and gas
prices, and the gradual penetration of
renewables as well as subdued demand,
wholesale power prices decreased in most
states.
The report urges strengthening cy-
bersecurity and physical protection of
energy sector installations, as well as ad-
dressing reliability concerns.
Significantly, it calls on member states
Custom engineered to meet each applications
to use public resources smartly, grant- requirements, Fairbanks Morse engines provide reliable, Power Gen
ing subsidies only if in line with the efficient power generation with low emissions. Backed by
long-term energy policy of the European genuine OEM parts and comprehensive, responsive service,
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assets and carbon lock-ina situation primary power when and where its needed most.
where the amount of fossil-fuel capacity
See how were powering the world forward at
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to the EUs long-term decarbonisation
objectives.
Finally, the report highlights lagging
investments in the sector. European in-

|
April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 13
eight years to complete.
4. First of its kind. Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd. (BHAVINI), an enterprise of Minister of State in the Prime Minis-
the Indian government, is poised to begin commercial operations at its 500-MW prototype fast
ters Office Jitendra Singh said in a writ-
breeder reactor at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu. The indigenously developed reactor will serve to
demonstrate the technical and economic viability of a fast breeder reactor power plant in India.
ten statement to the Rajya Sabha, Indias
The country has plans to build at least four more fast breeder reactors after the 500-MW unit upper house of parliament, that recent
comes online, as anticipated, this October. Courtesy: BHAVINI delays at the PFBR are primarily due to
augmentation of certain additional as-
sessments and checks on the installed
equipment prior to commencement of
their commissioning.

POWER Digest
Russia Marks Milestone with
Commercial Operation of Third-
Generation Reactor. After nearly a de-
cade of construction, the first advanced
third-generation VVER-1200 nuclear re-
actor began commercial operation on
February 2 at the Novovoronezh nuclear
power station on the bank of the Don
River near Voronezh in southwestern
Russia. The reactor is the sixth unit to
come online at the plant. Unit 1 is a
VVER-210 reactor, which was launched
in 1964 but closed in 1984. Unit 2, a
VVER-365, began operation in 1969 but
was shuttered in 1990. Units 3 and 4
are VVER-440 reactors that began com-
mercial operation in 1972 and 1973,
respectively, and Unit 5, a VVER-1000,
came online in 1980. Construction at
Unit 6 and Unit 7, both VVER-1200s,
began in 2007, with Unit 7 planned for
operation in 2018. Atomenergoproekt
formance feedback on full power genera- tonium to breed U-233 from thorium. In JSC is the general designer and con-
tion from the 500-MW PFBR would be the third stage, using wholly indigenous tractor for Units 6 and 7. According to
available. In the long term, the govern- technology, the country will use ad- Rosenergoatom, the Russian nuclear
ment wants to build four more fast reac- vanced heavy-water reactors fueled with power station operations subsidiary of
tors at a different site, and the process U-233 obtained from the irradiation of Atomenergoprom, Unit 6 was first con-
of forming a site-selection committee is thorium in PHWRs and fast reactors. nected to the countrys Unified Energy
ongoing. Commercial operation of the 500-MW System in August 2016. Testing was
While the global spotlight is fixed on PFBR at Kalpakkamwhich will be the successfully wrapped up on February 23,
Indias massive coal-fired power capacity first of its kind in the world when it is 2017. In comparison to the VVER-1000,
expansion, the country with meager ura- commercially operationalwill mean the VVER-1200 has a number of advan-
nium reserves has been pressing on with India has attained the second stage of tages that boost its economic character-
a unique long-term program that pushes the program. All construction activities istics and safety. Along with a capacity
for research and development of nuclear at the PFBR are complete, and integrated increase, the reactor designs lifespan
reactors using all three main fissionable commissioning is under way, the govern- has been doubled from 30 to 60 years.
materials: uranium-235, plutonium, and ment said. A number of up-to-date and unique
uranium-233 (U-233). The three-pronged The sodium-cooled, mixed oxidefu- safety systems has been applied, such
program, developed largely during the eled, pool-type fast reactor project (Fig- as corium trap or passive heat removal
countrys almost 30-year-long isolation ure 4) got its start in October 2003, when system that in the absence of electric
from international nuclear trade, also the government of India set up a wholly power supply and human participation
factors in Indias abundant thorium re- owned enterprise, Bharatiya Nabhikiya allows to cool the reactor core by means
sources, which constitute 25% of the Vidyut Nigam Ltd. (BHAVINI), solely fo- of air natural circulation, said Rosener-
worlds total reserves. cused on the construction, commission- goatom in a statement.
The first step of the three-stage pro- ing, and operation of the 500-MW PFBR. Ethiopias Grand Ethiopian Renais-
gram involves building indigenously Construction on the reactor based on sance Dam Upgraded. The design for
engineered pressurized heavy-water re- design and technology developed at the the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam,
actors (PHWRs) and light-water reactors Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research a $5 billion project whose construction
to produce plutonium. The second stage began in October 2004. It was originally is under way on the Blue Nile near the
uses fast-neutron reactors fueled by plu- anticipated that the project would take border of Ethiopia and Sudan, has been

14 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
revised for a 450-MW capacity increase. Saudi Arabia Calls for Qualifica-
It will now have a capacity of 6,450 tions for 700 MW of Renewables.
MW. The plant originally slated to have Saudi Arabia in late February opened
5,250 MW had already been upgraded bidding for up to 700 MW of wind and
once to 6,000 MW. Ethiopias Commu- solar power projects in a bid to temper
nication and Information Technology its domestic oil use and meet growing
Minister Debretsion Gebremichael told power demand. The Renewable Energy
reporters in late February that the plant Project Development Office (REPDO)
whose construction began in April 2011 invited bidders to qualify for its first
is 56% complete. Its in-service date is renewable energy tender by March 20.
now set for 2018. The project has been The selected parties will be announced
opposed by Egypt, which says the dam by April 10 and will be invited to pres-
could reduce the amount of water from ent their offers for the projects be-
the Nile. Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan in tween April 17 and the end of July. The
2015 signed an agreement seeking to tender calls for 300 MW to 700 MW of
end that dispute. When completed, the solar photovoltaic and 400 MW of wind
roller-compacted concrete dam with two to be developed at Sakaka in Al Jouf
power stations is expected to be the Province. The projects will be backed by
largest in Africa. 25-year power-purchase agreements for
Siemens Bags Order for Gas Tur- solar and 20-year agreements for wind.
bines for Saudi CHP Plant. Siemens It is the first stage of the kingdoms
on February 23 received an order for efforts to develop 10 GW of renewable
five F-class gas turbines for a 1,500-MW power by 2023. The ministry said in a
combined heat and power (CHP) plant in press statement that it wants to make
the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The plant the National Renewable Energy Program
is expected to supply about 400 MW among the most attractive, competi- CONSISTENT
of power and process steam to a new tive and well executed government re-
natural gas extraction plant in Fadhili,
in the Eastern Province of the kingdom.
newable energy investment programs in
the world, and we have all the neces-
AUTOMATION
The remainder will supply residential de- sary infrastructure in place to ensure
mand. Siemens received the order from that is the case. Electrical actuators for
South Koreas Doosan Heavy Industries Consortium Wins Tender for Ja- hydropower plants
& Construction Co., which is the engi- pans First Offshore Wind Farm.
neering, procurement, and construction A consortium led by Japanese utility Reliable, powerful, robust.
contractor for the project. Siemens also Kyuden Mirai will undertake the de- For several decades, AUMA
signed a long-term service agreement velopment of a $1.54 billion offshore actuators have proved their
with Kahrabel FZE, an affiliate of the wind project about 10 km off the port of
ENGIE Group, for the gas turbines at Hibikinada, in Kitakyushus Wakamatsu reliability in automating sluice
the Fadhili CHP plant for a period of 16 Ward. The project will likely comprise gates, butterly valves and gates
years. 44 turbines installed on jacket founda- in weirs, ish ladders, locks, and
Spain Conditionally Approves Ga- tions. Construction of the wind farm off
roa Reactor Restart. Spains Nuclear the coast of Fukuoka Prefecture on the
hydropower plants.
Safety Council (Consejo de Seguridad Nu- western island of Kyushu could begin in AUMAs comprehensive portfo-
clear, CSN) on February 8 gave the Garoa 2022 following an environmental impact lio of actuators covers torques
nuclear power plant approval to restart assessment. The consortium comprises
ranging from 10Nm to
after being offline for the past four years Hibiki Wind Energy Group, which in-
on the condition that its operator, Nucle- cludes utility J-Power, Saibu Gas, and 675,000Nm allowing consis-
nor, made a number of safety upgrades. engineering firm Kyudenko. It was cho- tent and uniform automation
If upgraded, the 446-MW boiling-water sen to develop the project by the Kita- right across the plant: from
reactor, which is 46 years old, is suitable kyushu municipal government. A turbine
for operation until 2019, CSN said. The supplier has not yet been identified, simple OPEN-CLOSE applica-
modifications include the installation of though Hitachis 5.2-MW offshore tur- tions to level control using an
a filtered containment venting system, bine is a possible frontrunner, according integral PID controller.
construction of alternative emergency to industry observers. The project will be
management centers, and installation of Japans first offshore wind project. The
a passive autocatalytic hydrogen recom- country in May 2016 amended its Port More about our
biner, according to World Nuclear News. and Harbour Law to promote the devel- automation solutions
A final decision on a license renewal ap- opment of offshore wind. The revisions www.auma.com
plication submitted in February 2014 for allow developers to lease designated
Garoa will be made by Spains Ministry water zones in port areas for a period of
of Energy, Tourism, and the Digital Agen- up to 20 years.
da after Nucelnor has made the necessary Sonal Patel is a POWER associate
upgrades. editor

|
April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 15
Using Rotor-In Major In-
spections to Shorten Out- 1. In place. The rotor-in major inspection (RIMI) allows crews to perform all required tasks in-
cluded in a rotor-out major with less cost and time requirements. Courtesy: GE Power Services
ages and Drive Safety
Today, some F-class operators continue to
opt for rotor-out major inspections, which
are cumbersome and inefficient. They in-
volve complex lifts and moves of the rotor,
as well as the need for substantial space
to store the rotor and other complications.
These inspections are typically the longest
portion of an outage, with risks to both
employees and equipment. However, there
is an alternative that can increase safety
and productivity while reducing downtime
and lowering the cost of a major inspec-
tion of an F-class unit. Its called the ro-
tor-in major inspection (RIMI).

What Is a Rotor-In Major Inspection?


The RIMI is a process developed at GEs historical data, support cases, sister data, is no need for heavy-duty lifting equip-
full-size 7FA gas turbine mock-up facil- borescope reports, and other data to iden- ment on-site, which reduces unnecessary
ity, part of its Global Repair Development tify any possible issues with the lower half equipment movement and opportunities
Center in Greenville, South Carolina, us- stators that may be of concern. Only the for personnel injury or damage.
ing GEs unique experience, tooling, and units that pass this engineering review are No Reduction in Quality. One of the
personnel. The process is built on years eligible for a RIMI. GE has completed over primary benefits for the RIMI is that there
of experience conducting rotor-in majors 50 RIMIs across the globe, and to date is no gap in the scope from a rotor-out
for B and E fleets, and it accomplishes the none have had an issue that resulted in inspection. The scope includes evaluat-
major inspection while leaving the rotor the removal of the rotor. ing the compressor and turbine sections,
in place, rather than removing it and lay- While the overall major inspection pro- cleaning the lower half stator vanes (Fig-
ing it down on the plant floor. Although cess has not changed, numerous steps ure 2), and other traditional services. In
GE has become proficient at executing were modified with the RIMI to repre- addition, the rotor can be rotated 360
rotor-out major inspections over many sent the proper order of the outage. The degrees for maintenance without signifi-
years, problems still arise and damage can bearing inspection and replacement were cant complications. This process ensures a
occur from this single event. moved to the beginning of inspection, thorough inspection with no performance
GE has engineered a way to perform and the casing removal and installation degradation when compared to rotor-out
the major inspection and complete all steps were reordered. major inspections.
required tasks while leaving the rotor in Leaving the rotor in place allows for pre- Estimated Schedule Reduction. The
place, thus increasing safety and reducing vious critical path items to be done in par- process of physically moving the rotor out
downtime by an average of 15% to 20%. allel to shorten outage duration. While the of the turbine and onto the plant floor takes
Developing the RIMI process started in co- rotor is in place, foreign materials exclu- a lot of time during a rotor-out inspection,
operation with several GE customers, and sion (FME) Zone 1 controls are maintained during which few other services can be
it began conducting RIMIs for our F-class for the compressor section. All items get conducted. The RIMI, by contrast, allows
fleet on a limited basis in 2011. logged in and out of the compartment simultaneous operations to take place. For
until completing the compressor section, instance, while crews are still working on
How Rotor-In Major Inspections and the danger of foreign material entry is the hot gas path area, the compressor sec-
Work mitigated. No inspections were modified or tion, inlet bellmouth, and exhaust frames
The only additional tooling needed is GEs omitted to allow the rotor to stay in place. can be reinstalled. This concurrent work is
proprietary 7FA Rotor Jacking system. In fact, proprietary tooling was developed impossible while the rotor is outside the
These jacks allow crews to raise the shaft to help facilitate this process. machine. Additionally, there is no down-
and remove the lower half liner (Figure time during the rotation of cranes, allow-
1), at which time the bearing area and Beneits vs. Rotor-Out ing generator alignment to begin sooner.
cavities get cleaned and the liners are re- The benefits of a RIMI over a traditional All together, there is a 15% to 20% cycle
placed. rotor-out inspection are many and include time reduction with the RIMI compared to
Before a RIMI can occur, each unit goes faster turn-around, better safety, and few- rotor-out major inspections.
through a technical review by GEs engi- er demands on plant staff. Less Laydown Area Needed. Since
neering experts. This team helps ensure Improved Safety. One of the clearest the rotor is not removed from the ma-
that the integrity of the compressor is advantages of the RIMI is increased safe- chine, the personnel can set other casings
capable of the rotor-in major. They scour ty. Since the rotor is not removed, there on the ground without reserving space for

16 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
As utilities go forward in staying competitive in the energy
2. Clean sweep. The RIMI process is designed to allow for all markets, reducing the time during outage season without any
traditional services included in a rotor-out inspection, such as steam- major complications is critical. The RIMI process that GE has put
cleaning the lower half stator vanes. Courtesy: GE Power Services together represents a substantial benefit for utilities seeking im-
proved safety and reduced downtime during 7F major inspections.
Michael Helton is lead engineer, life cycle productivity for GE
Power Services.

Dissimilar-Metal Weld Is a Misnomer


Most combined cycle professionals understand that a joint be-
tween grade 91 steel and an austenitic stainless steel is consid-
ered a dissimilar-metal weld. For that reason, it requires special
welding procedures. But what some folks may not realize is that
a joint between two austenitic stainless steels could also be con-
sidered a dissimilar-metal weld (Figure 3).
Sounds counterintuitive for two steels of the same name to be
called dissimilar, right? But that underscores the reason why the
the rotor. This process is very useful in tight spaces where his- industry needs to stop using the term dissimilar-metal weld
torically the casings had to be moved to another location to altogether, because its misleading to inexperienced welders and
allow space for the rotor. There is also no need to strategically plant engineers alike. To be more precise, we should all refer to
remove roof sections or other large items in preparation for rotat- those risky steel joints as dissimilar-properties welds, because
ing cranes. In addition, the RIMI may eliminate the need to rent its the difference in the properties of two metals that causes all
tractor-trailers to remove shell casings from the laydown area. of the concerns. The differenceor similarityin the metals
Results. Since its inception in 2011, more than 50 units have names doesnt matter one iota!
been completed using the RIMI process. Starting with the 9E gas
turbine, GE has been adopting the RIMI as the de-facto process Carbon Content/Strength
for inspections. The install base on RIMIs includes nearly 20 9Es, Consider the two stainless steels mentioned above, which are
six 6Bs, and eight 7Fs. One recent example is a utility in the frequently used in combined cycle and cogeneration plants. If
Southeast U.S. that reduced downtime of its outage from an aver- you judge by their common name, austenitic stainless steel, you
age of 30 days to 20 days using the RIMI process. might conclude that you have matching metals, and that welding
them together would be an ordinary task. But if you look closely
at their properties, you find that is not the case.
The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) defines one of
EPIC themAlloy 347as having a minimum of 18% chromium and
11% nickel, with a maximum of 0.08% carbon. The other one,
Alloy 347H, can have a higher carbon contentup to 0.10%
which enhances high-temperature strength (Figure 4). The dif-
ference in high-temperature strength makes a joint between
these two steels a dissimilar-properties weld, which can only be
made with special welding procedures.

Similarly, differences exist in the chrome content of steels
within the one family of chromium/molybdenum alloys that
are also commonly welded in combined cycle and cogeneration
Manufactured in West Des Moines, Iowa USA
www.checkall.com sales@checkall.com plants. Were talking about P11 and P22, which are often referred
to by the same slang term, chrome-moly, and therefore are
Check-All Valve Mfg. Co. is proud to Additionally, the EPIC series often joined together as if its an ordinary weld. Even though
introduce a new check valve product incorporates a replaceable drop-in
offering. The EPIC series consists check mechanism (Replaceable
of in-line spring-loaded poppet-type Insert Kit sold separately) that is
check valves that are designed to be easily installed into the existing body 3. When is similar, not the same? A joint made between
cost effective, simple, rugged and without requiring additional assembly
two metals from the same alloy family could still be a dissimilar-prop-
eficient while operating in any low of separate checking components. This
orientation. pre-assembled complete check erties weld. Courtesy: Euroweld Ltd.
mechanism eliminates the need
The EPIC is machined from 300 series to assemble individual checking
stainless steel bar stock with Alas seat/ components, creating an eficient
seals and a 1/2-PSI stainless steel spring and economical method of effectively
(cracking pressure). It is streamlined rebuilding the entire check mechanism,
so that media lows through the valve if an application requires.
over smooth, contoured surfaces with
a minimum change in direction. The Due to the materials of construction,
check valve also achieves a high low high low capacity, complete
capacity and reduced pressure loss repairability and the quality customers
compared to other poppet style check have come to expect from Check-All,
valves of similar sized connections. the EPIC check valves are uniquely
These features minimize the pressure suited for a very wide range of
drop across the valve. The EPIC applications in liquids, gases and steam.
closes quickly and smoothly for
Find EPIC online
silent operation and eliminates water
hammer. EXPRESS LINE

18 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
4. Dissimilar properties. Although Alloy 347 and Alloy 347H may sound similar, differ- Construction contractors and origi-
ences in high-temperature strength make welding joints between the two, dissimilar-properties nal equipment manufacturers are typi-
welds. Values on this chart are in kilopounds per square inch at 1,100F. Courtesy: Euroweld Ltd. cally equipped to comply with the special
welding procedures needed for dissimi-
lar-properties welds. After commission-
ing, however, the plant is turned over to
the power plant crew, which may not be
equipped to thoroughly inspect all welds
completed during routine maintenance
and plant outages. Thats why a qualified
Allowable stress

contractor should be hired to conduct a


metallographic inspection of all of the
dissimilar-properties welds performed.

Post-Weld Heat Treatment


In combined cycle and cogeneration
plants, the single most troublesome dis-
similar-properties weld is the one between
a grade 91 steel and one of the common
steelseither P11 or P22. Joining P91 to
P11/22 is so troublesome that it requires
post-weld heat treatment (PWHT) in 100%
of the cases in order to preserve the me-
Alloy tallic microstructure. Very specific PWHT
requirements are published in many differ-
both of these metals are called chrome- use a third material as a buttering layer ent codes and should not be disregarded.
moly, they have very different properties, between the two base metals. The butter- William F. Newell Jr., PE is vice
so their weld should be made with very ing material must be soluble with each of president for Euroweld Ltd. and Rob
special procedures. the base metals, so a nickel-based filler is Swanekamp, PE is executive director of
These are just two of the problems cre- often the correct choice. the HRSG Users Group.
ated by the metal-standards organizations
with their current classification of P
numbers, which have shoehorned met-
als of different properties into the various
classifications. To correct these problems,
AISI needs to update its standards, as do
the American Society for Testing and Ma-
terials (ASTM) and the American Society
of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Code
Take control.
committees are currently working on this,
so updates could be issued soon. Save time and resources with easy sample automation.
Inspect, Dont Expect Running an eicient plant requires the best
Youve probably heard the old manage- use of your resources. And that cant happen
ment adage, You get what you inspect, when your staf needs to manually reset
not what you expect. The expression sample low every time the plant cycles.
couldnt be truer than in the case of dis-
similar-properties welds. Thats why oper- The NEW Sentry AutoVREL low controller
ations and maintenance personnel should is a turnkey solution that automatically
identify all of the dissimilar-properties controls sample low at the push of a
welds in their plant, and give them a spe-
button, eliminating the need for continual
cial inspection.
Inspections should focus on the transi- adjustment of lows in a cycling plant.
tion zone between the base metals, be- The Sentry AutoVREL helps you improve eiciency,
cause thats where harmful intermetallic
compounds and other defects are found, cost-efectively.
if any have formed. Using optical micros-
copy, look for the presence of these in- Learn more at sentry-equip.com/
termetallic compounds, such as niobium products/AutoVREL.
carbides, chrome carbides, and so on. If
the metallography reveals any defects,
then the weld needs to be remade.
In many cases, the remade weld should

April 2017 POWER | www.powermag.com 19


The Future of Clean Energy
Is Dependent on States
and Utilities
Tahiya Sultan

U .S. coal production in 2016 reached its lowest level since


1978. However, in its Annual Energy Outlook published
in February 2017, the U.S. Energy Information Adminis-
tration (EIA) expects coal-fired power to regain its place at the
top of the U.S. power generation mix in 2019 and hold that posi-
commitment to address climate change by eliminating coal-fired
energy sources entirely from the states grid. It would also serve
as statutory protection against any future reversion to high-pol-
luting energy sources during unexpected service interruptions or
to accommodate electric demand growth that could occur with
tion into the 2030s, if the Obama-era Environmental Protection the rapid expansion of the electric transportation industry.
Agencys (EPAs) Clean Power Plan (CPP) is repealed. Similarly, New York has continued with its plans to reduce car-
Given the Supreme Court ruling in February 2016 that stayed bon pollution, investing in solar, smart power grids, electric car
its implementation, President Trumps promise to repeal it, and charging stations, and offshore wind farms in an effort to even-
the confirmation of Scott Pruitt as the new administrator of the tually reach a 100% renewable energy goal. New York already
EPA, the CPP appears doomed. The death of the CPP would drasti- receives 25% of its power from renewable energy sources.
cally impact federal government incentives to switch to cleaner Even Michiganwhich is one of the 10 most coal-dependent
energy. However, if states, utilities, and the largest energy users states in the countryhas achieved some renewable energy ob-
maintain their own clean energy goals, the spirit and aims of the jectives. The Michigan Public Service Commission recently found
CPP will be met with or without its actual implementation. that all electric service providers in the state met renewable port-
The CPP tracks the U.S.s commitment as part of the historic folio targets of 10% by 2015.
Paris climate deal by requiring states to develop plans to reduce
carbon emissions from existing generating units that use fossil The Role of Utilities
fuels and encouraging states to reach a specific carbon reduction Similarly, the nations largest energy users and electric utilities
target. Implementation of the CPP would ensure U.S. coal con- are not waiting for closure on the CPP as they move forward
sumption for power production decreases from its present level, with reducing emissions. More than two-thirds of Fortune 100
unless utilities invest more money to upgrade existing plants. companies and more than half of Fortune 500 companies have
However, even if the CPP survives, states are not required to start renewable power or sustainability targets.
meeting lower carbon-emissions levels until 2022.
The CPP is a prime example of how federal regulations for ex-
isting power plants could significantly contribute to lowering Many states have already be-
carbon emissions. If the CPP is implemented, coal generation
would likely decline steadily through the 2030s and it would
gun to create their own carbon
greatly reduce carbon emissions and coal plant pollution. Con- emission-reduction targets and
versely, without the CPP, the EIA noted there is less incentive to
switch from carbon-intensive coal to less carbon-intensive natu-
plans, thus fulfilling the aims of
ral gas or carbon-free fuels such as wind and solar. the CPP on their own terms.
States Moving to Take the Lead Furthermore, utilities and the largest energy users are direct-
However, the Obama-era EPA was not the only regulatory body ing new investments towards natural gas and renewable-based
aiming to reduce carbon emissions in the U.S., and the death of power production due to the low cost of natural gas and the tax
the CPP does not mark the end of the countrys clean energy fu- credits provided to produce more electricity from solar and wind.
ture. Many states have already begun to create their own carbon In fact, many electric utilities anticipate that even if the CPP is
emission-reduction targets and plans, thus fulfilling the aims of rescinded, stricter climate standards are likely at the state level
the CPP on their own terms. and under possible future federal administrations. Thus, many
For example, legislation has been introduced in the California utilities will continue to focus on cutting carbon emissions.
Assembly to cap the amount of coal-generated electricity the Regardless of the fate of the CPP, we will likely continue to see
state uses. Under the current version of the bill, California would states, utilities, and large energy users collectively reduce the
entirely eliminate in-state use of electricity from coal by 2026. nations carbon footprint and achieve greater renewable energy
The bill is largely symbolic because the amount that California targets, despite any near-term federal obstacles created.
usesabout 6% at the end of 2016is already small. Tahiya Sultan is an associate with Davis Wright Tremaine in the
Though symbolic, the bill would codify into law Californias firms San Francisco office.

20 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE

The Future Is Now: Connected


Power Plants Are Here

Courtesy: Duke Energy Renewables

New technology is being used throughout the power industry to improve plant ef-
ficiency, predict trouble with degrading equipment, forecast weather trends, and
train workers. A recent conference hosted by POWER brought together a number of
savvy users and providers to share their experiences and learn about new offerings.
Abby L. Harvey, Aaron Larson, Thomas W. Overton, and Sonal Patel

A
joke that always seems to get laughs Plant Conference in Dallas, Texas, February production of some wind farms by 3% to
when the power plant of the future is 1516, 2017. The conferencedesigned to 4% through digital modeling and improved
contemplated is that only one human give attendees the tools needed to move to- data analytics. In the fall of 2015, GE rolled
and one dog will be needed to operate it. ward a more connected power plantwas out its digital power plant for gas-fired fa-
The dogs job will be to bite the human if he sponsored by industry heavyweights GE, cilities, increasing the efficiency of many of
or she tries to touch anything; the humans Siemens, and the Electric Power Research those units. Last summer, it introduced the
job will be to feed the dog. Institute (EPRI), among others. Presenta- digital power plant for steam units, which
The point of the joke, of course, is that tions included case studies on connected has improved the efficiency of some coal-
the power plant of the future may not need technologies being utilized by utilities such fired plants by 5%.
humans at all; it may be run completely by as Exelon, Duke Energy, Salt River Project, Chotai noted that Exelon Generation has
computers and controlled using artificial and more. (Stay tuned to POWER for soon- embraced GEs Predix technology in a big
intelligence. Although that sounds like sci- to-be-released details about next years way. For example, Exelon is utilizing the
ence fiction, so did self-driving cars a few event.) products energy forecasting tools to more
years ago. Now, its not only companies like During the conference, Sham Chotai, accurately predict wind speeds, which af-
Tesla and Google that are developing auton- chief technology officer (CTO) of GE fects wind generation forecasts. Dispatch-
omous vehicles; even Ford expects to have Power Digital Solutions, noted that technol- ers use the information to adjust models
commercial models available by 2021. ogy offerings have evolved significantly in and factor in expected changes. One Exelon
recent years (Figure 1). GE introduced its employee said prior to implementing the
Leaders Connect digital wind farm in the spring of 2015. The Predix solution, the company left potential
POWER hosted the first-ever Connected solution has improved the annual energy energy generation on the table that it is now

22 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
needed to take action based on the monitor-
1. The digital revolution. New technology, such as GEs Predix system, has allowed
ing teams analysis, resulted in the discov-
many power plants to optimize performance. Courtesy: GE Power
ery of a very large crack in a high-pressure
steam turbine rotor. Although the team
could not pinpoint the exact problem while
the unit was online, pattern recognition soft-
ware identified a vibration anomaly that had
gone undetected by control room operators.
After further analysis, the team determined
that a thorough examination was warranted.
The unit was shut down, avoiding cata-
strophic failure, and the crack was found
during the inspection.
Duke Energys Monitoring and Diagnos-
tics Center reported 555 finds from 2013
through 2016. The company estimates that
the center has more than paid for itself
through cost avoidance attributable to the
centers finds during the period.

Modeling Plants Pays Dividends


able to profit from. very short distance to these computers. Randy Bickford, president and CTO of soft-
[Exelon is] just an incredible, incredible Reid said thoroughly reviewing all of the ware firm Expert Microsystems, agreed that
partner for us, Chotai said. Theyre early data that is collected is not humanly pos- modeling expected performance parameters
adopters. We think were early in this jour- sible, so Duke Energy has several software is key. The most accurate expected val-
ney. We spent about the last 18 months re- tools that it utilizes for the task. The compa- ues give you the earliest and most accurate
ally piloting a lot of technologies . . . They ny has created virtual plant modelsDuke predictions of potential problems, he said.
bought everything that we had. Energy currently has more than 10,000 Without a good model, its much harder to
Another example of an early adopter is modelsand it monitors thermal perfor- use plant data effectively. One problem with
Duke Energy (the companys Renewable mance at plants looking for optimization relying directly on sensor data is that many
Control Center is shown in the opening pho- opportunities and other issues. problems can display the same symptoms,
to). Michael Reid, general manager of tech- Once we have alarms going off and tell- making it hard to tell whats really going
nical programs for Duke Energys Fossil ing us, this is not expected behavior, then we on. With that model, you know when and
Hydro Group, gave a presentation showing have our experts start to dig into this problem where problems will occur.
how Duke Energy has applied technology and use the tools that we have, Reid said. Stefan Bungart, global head of digitaliza-
building off the online-monitoring con- One find, or situation in which a plant tion, power generation services for Siemens
ceptto detect equipment failures earlier
than was previously possible. He noted that 2. Putting it all to work. Connecting a power plant can help make emissions compli-
the earlier problems are detected, the more ance more efficient and accurate. Left to right: Steve Piche, software director with GE Power
time there is to plan, prioritize, schedule, Digital Services; Tom Overton, POWER associate editor; and Philip Black, product marketing
and execute repairs. director with the Wood Group. Source: POWER/Aaron Larson
Although a common perception is that
equipment wears out over time, Reid said
most equipment failure occurs randomly.
That fact offers an opportunity for compa-
nies with a proactive mindset. Duke Energy
has added more and more field sensors to
monitor plant components with the goal of
avoiding catastrophic breakdown. It now ac-
quires much more data than it used to, and
it exploits that data to detect potential prob-
lems. One game changer was the ability to
utilize wireless connectivity.
We have many sensors applied on our
assets. Theyre hardwired to numerous
data acquisition systems around the station.
Those data acquisition computers then send
information to the plant server wirelessly,
Reid explained. If we didnt have that ar-
chitecture, it would be far too expensive to
install this, because really 75% of the cost
of the project is related to installation of the
wiring for the sensorsand thats just for a

|
April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 23
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
Energy, noted that utilities that have em- advanced predictive analytics. The project ties through additional advanced modeling
braced the possibilities of digitization have began with one combined cycle plant in of performance and vibrational data.
seen returns across their entire operations, 2005, and SRP has since rolled it out across
from generation and distribution, to trad- its entire fleet, expanding the range of data Using Data to Optimize Your Plant
ing, retail, and even headquarters overhead. it gathers over time. The PMC is staffed by One area that big data and advanced moni-
Digitization can improve plant security, a crew of experienced plant supervisors who toring can help with is environmental com-
network security, and system integrity, he are able to give expert advice to plant work- pliance, two speakers noted. Philip Black,
noted. ers remotely. The results have more than product marketing director with the Wood
Andrew Johnson, supervisor of Salt River justified the substantial investment. Group, pointed out that noncompliance has
Projects (SRPs) Performance Monitoring In 2016, the PMC managed 318 saves, become more costly, and that the Environ-
Center (PMC) in Arizona, reported similar Johnson said. mental Protection Agency expects plant
benefits from the cooperatives embrace of SRP plans to expand the PMCs capabili- compliance data to be much more accessible
than it has been in the past (Figure 2). That
means the old spreadsheet approach is often
no longer enough.
You cant afford to have a bunch of dif-
ferent sets of data sets for your compliance.
You cant have Operations looking at one
set of data, Environmental collecting that
data manually, and then sending it to Man-
agement, he said. Operations needs that
same data and same information.
But having a connected plant means op-
erators can run equipment based on actual
values instead of estimates, and it allows for
a more consistent, predictable approach that
can prevent problems before they occur, he
said. Properly configured systems will iden-
tify data loss instead of relying on faulty in-
strumentation that can throw off results. All
of this allows for more efficient operations
and better decision-making.
You get the ability to start using your
compliance data as a dataset, as a consistent
set of information in a format that everyone
can access and use, he said. Its not just
the right data to the right person. Its the
right data into the right system.
One especially powerful tool is using
these rich historical datasets for failure anal-
ysis, so that the plant has a clear picture of
exactly what went wrong, where, and why.
It gives us the ability to move the infor-
mation from static reports into visual and
other representations to show where the
failures occurred, he said.
Advanced neural net modeling and rich
data can allow for real-time, closed-loop
combustion optimization, Steve Piche,
software director with GE Power Digital
Services, explained. Earlier generations of
neural net models could only predict current
or changing values in emissions data due to
changes in manipulated variables. The most
recent generation, however, can not only
predict changes, but also predict levels of
confidence in the new values based on those
variables. This allows for much more pre-
cise tuning of combustion, he said, because
the predicted confidence values can be used
to evaluate the quality of the models.
What this allows us to do is understand
what inputs are affecting what outputs, and

24 www.powermag.com |
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OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
insight and better decision-making, he said.
3. Smart devices. Attendees at the Connected Plant Conference participated in dem-
On the power plant construction and de-
onstrations of Occipitals Structure Sensor (left), a 3-D-scanning iPad attachment, and the
Microsoft Hololens (right)a pair of mixed-reality smartglassesas they would be used at a sign front, digital technology can make a
power plant. Computer vision and image measurement firm Praxik is developing software for positive impact on cost and risk. This inte-
these devices for power plant use under a contract with the Electric Power Research Institute. grated digital structure requires less control
Such devices promise a far more intuitive user interface with plant equipment and could allow system interwiring, less engineering detail
workers to easily see key equipment and relevant data, or even enter new information into a on drawings, less hardware, less fabrication
system. Courtesy: Praxik wiring, and fewer points to test. This helps
reduce costs across the entire lifecycle of
the plant control system, McDonnell noted.
This can be hundreds of thousands of dol-
lars for a mid-size project.
Safety, too, can be integrated into the
digital culture. The electronic integration
of safety could improve procedural compli-
ance, the safety audit process, safety pro-
gram tracking, safety event tracking, and
safety system monitoring. Additionally, it
could identify trends by determining the
root cause of safety events, as well as cut
downtime caused by safety events, he said.
how strongly they are affecting the outputs, tems in the power industry specifically. That Finally, the digital integration of safety
and do we need to collect additional data. head-in-the-sand [mentality] is probably could benefit younger, less-experienced
Piche described a case study involving not going to work anymore. workers who may need time to fully un-
a two-unit, 730-MW coal plant that needed One of the keys to guarding a plant against derstand an organizations safety culture.
to significantly reduce its NOx emissions to potential cyberattacks is understanding where Safety procedures, culture, and processes
avoid a substantial derate. Using GE predic- vulnerabilities lie. Youre opening up more do not change regardless of the employees
tive analytics and optimization, the plant was of these paths, and as you open it up in one generation, McDonnell added.
able to achieve a 10% NOx reduction over a direction, youre creating another direction Matt Buck, who is a senior technical
45-day period and continue operating at its back in for the bad guys, Carrigan said. The leader for EPRI, pointed out that in 2015
rated capacity. other thing is: These things have a day job. Millennials became the greatest percentage
Engineers are constantly making changes in of the workforce. Born between 1980 and
Vigilance Is Vital for Cybersecurity [distributed control systems (DCSs)] and 2000, that generation has different career
Bringing a power plant into the age of the In- [programmable logic controllers (PLCs)] to expectations and grew up with electron-
dustrial Internet of Things (IIoT) inherently improve operations, and thats a good thing, ics and interconnectedness as part of their
raises cybersecurity concerns. As more con- but they can do two things inadvertently everyday life. The digital transformation is
nections are made between a plants many while theyre doing that. inevitable, he argued. But he said there is a
systems, more access points are naturally First, Carrigan continued, in making more significant question worth exploring:
created for hackers to gain entry, Marina changes to a once-secure DCS or PLC, engi- Whether the use of technology will be en-
Krotofill, lead security researcher at Hon- neers can damage the data those systems are terprise-driven or motivated by employees
eywell Industrial Cyber Security, explained sending to the IIoT. Second thing I can do is seeking to find a way?
during the conference. I can open up more security holes because I Transitioning to a digital workforce will
The Internet of Things means that you have done something . . . all of sudden Ive require the right approach, from the right
introduce some sort of connectivity to your opened up a path I didnt expect to be there or application of technology to the right app
platform, she said. If you introduce exter- Ive created a vulnerability I didnt want. All to get the job done, Buck said. These ap-
nal connectivity from the internet, you have of a sudden Ive left my system more vulner- plications should increase efficiency and
to make sure that your infrastructure is se- able, he said. effectiveness, but they must also enhance
cure. worker safety and productivity, and can-
While there are undeniably potential se- Enhancing Efficiency and Worker not risk situational awareness or be overly
curity risks related to connecting a power Safety with Technology complicated (Figure 3). Finally, they should
plants systems, that should not necessar- Because the global population is anticipated be developed with the involvement of field
ily be a deterrent to doing so, according to to surpass eight billion people by 2025 and workers to have value, he said.
Mark Carrigan, COO of PAS Inc. The po- the world will need to produce more essen- Some helpful applications under develop-
tential benefits of integrating IIoT technol- tials, including medicine, food, water, and ment include wearable biometric monitoring
ogy into a plants operation can outweigh especially energy, the industrial sector must to improve employee health; geolocation or
the cybersecurity risks, as long as the plant become smarter and more productive, ar- scanning to aid in equipment identification;
operator addresses the risks, he said. gued Tom McDonnell, power generation in- trend overlays to gauge real-time equipment
One of the big things about cybersecu- dustry leader at Rockwell Automation. This status; and virtual walkthroughs before ex-
rity is you cant quantify the risks like you digital transformation is already under way. ecution of a procedure.
can other things. In some ways, for some Applications and systemssuch as in- Abby L. Harvey is reporter, Aaron
people, its like its just out there, he said. tegrated, intelligent electrical devices and Larson is executive editor, and Thomas
The reality is: There have been a number of smart instrumentationcan be unified, re- W. Overton and Sonal Patel are associate
successful attacks on industrial control sys- sulting in speedy data analysis for richer editors for POWER magazine.

26 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE

Reducing Cycling Damage to


Combined Cycle Steam Turbines
Source: POWER/Tom Overton

Cycling a combined cycle plant places additional stresses on all equipment, but the
impacts extend beyond the gas turbine and heat recovery steam generator. Plant
owners and managers are beginning to see cycling-related damage on steam tur-
bines too. A recent study by the Electric Power Research Institute assessed the ways
plants are finding to deal with it.
Merrill Quintrell

M any combined cycle gas turbine


(CCGT)based power plants
have seen a significant change in
their operating profiles over the past two de-
cades. In many cases, plants that were origi-
ity. Very little regard has been given to what
shorter start times, lower turndowns, and
other modifications to the gas turbine side
of the plant may have on the steam side of
the facility, with particular emphasis on the
cross-section of the industry, representing
predominantly F-class CCGT facilities, but
also including E-class units and aero-deriv-
atives.
In all, telephone interviews were conduct-
nally designed for baseload or hours-based steam turbine generator (STG, Figure 1). ed with plant staff at nearly 50 CCGT power
operation are instead realizing operating pro- A recent study by the Electric Power facilities in the U.S., Japan, England, and Ita-
files that experience high starts, lower-than- Research Institute (EPRI) investigated the ly. Interview questions encompassed general
expected capacity factors, and a significant impact of increased cycling on the STG. inquiries regarding age of the facility, basic
amount of load-following throughout the The study and its findings are described in design configuration, dispatch operations,
course of the day. an EPRI report entitled Operational and plant procedures, and operations and main-
Over the years, original equipment manu- Control Strategies for Reducing Steam Tur- tenance history of the steam systems in the
facturers (OEMs) and owners have investi- bine Damage from Cycling Combined Cycle plant, including the heat recovery steam gen-
gated methods to improve the operational Plants (EPRI report 3002006026). erator (HRSG), main steam piping, attemper-
flexibility of CCGT facilities, including en- ators, and in particular the STG. With regards
hanced turndown capability and increased Study Methodology to the STG, detailed discussions were held
ramp ratesall in order to improve their The EPRI study involved telephone inter- regarding maintenance histories, discoveries,
market presence. However, much of this views with representatives at a broad range inspection frequencies, and lessons learned,
work has been focused on the combustion of plants, followed by site visits to selected all of which also included all STG valves and
turbine generator (CTG) side of the facil- facilities. Participants were culled from a ancillary equipment. As part of these discus-

28 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
1. At risk. Though attention has been paid to the stresses that increased cycling can place 2. Airfoil erosion. Operation at low to
on gas turbines and heat recovery steam generators, plant operators are now beginning to see extremely low loads can result in water dam-
similar effects on combined cycle plant steam turbine generators. Courtesy: EPRI age to steam turbine airfoils. Courtesy: EPRI

house, Dresser-Rand, Shin Nippon, and IMO


DeLaval).

Steam Turbines in Combined Cycle


Plants
As OEMs ramped up their design and manu-
facturing capabilities for the advanced CTGs
delivered in the mid- and late-1990s, they
came to the realization that, for the most
part, the steam turbine requirements for the
new CCGT facilities were drastically differ-
sions, the maintenance histories of the gener- ager, and maintenance manager, or some ent from their fossil-plant cousins. In typical
ators were also explored. Respondents were similar mix of personnel. Interviews gener- fossil plants, steam turbines will often have
asked to share, if possible, integrated plant ally lasted about 60 minutes. Represented in as many as seven extractions to provide for
startup and shutdown procedures. the study were 127 gas turbines, 81 steam feedwater preheating, which is not required
Interviewees for each facility typically turbines, and eight steam turbine manufac- in CCGT facilities. In addition, most HRSGs
included the plant manager, operations man- turers (Alstom, GE, Siemens, MHI, Westing- typically incorporate three different pressure

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April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 29
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
lead to forced outages to repair the damage
3. Rubs. Contact between rotating and stationary components can cause vibration and dam-
(Figure 3). Rubs can be due to a variety of
age. These spill strips have been rubbed and as a result machined out. Courtesy: EPRI.
issues, including but not limited to improper
maintenance practices, inadequate insulation
installation, or poor startup processes.

Generators
Issues with generators on the cycling steam
turbines may be the direct result of cycling or
exacerbated by the cyclic nature of operations.
Dusting and Greasing. One of the most
prevalent issues with cycling generators is
loose end windings, which has led to multi-
ple sites experiencing dusting, caused by the
rubbing together of adjacent windings. If this
happens in the presence of oil that has mi-
grated into the generator, the oil and the dust
caused by the friction will create a grease-like
substance (Figure 4). The presence of dusting
of the cyclic operations. or greasing is not the problem; rather, it is a
4. Greasy windings. Cycling can cause Airfoil Damage Due to Water or Wet symptom of a problem that if left uncorrected
additional vibration in the generator, which can
Steam Ingress. Due to the push to get units may eventually lead to shorted turns. Some
manifest as a greasy substance caused by the
presence of oil inside the generator combin- online quicker, or the desire to try to run at sites have installed end winding vibration
ing with dust created by windings rubbing extremely low loads, todays CCGT facili- probes to aid in the detection of vibration.
against each other. Courtesy: EPRI ties have experienced issues with damage to Oil Ingress. Another common issue with
airfoils, both rotating and stationary, result- most generators is oil getting in through the
ing in cutting or thinning (Figure 2). This oil seals. In hydrogen-cooled generators, this
damage is often repairable but can be very ingress can occur if problems exist with the
expensive and time consuming. seal oil pressure regulators. On air-cooled
Last-Stage Blade Resonance. Surpris- units, it can happen if the inlet air filters be-
ingly, a number of issues were noted with a come dirty and the differential pressure in-
vibrational response in the last-stage blades, creases to the point that air is pulled through
resulting from a natural resonance, which has the bearings. Either way, oil, once it is inside
led to the failure of many last-stage blades. the generator, can atomize with the cooling
This issue has been identified in multiple media, either air or hydrogen, flowing in and
levels, in contrast to fossil boilers, which manufacturers units and multiple frame around the windings of both the stator and
have only one. As a result, most modern sizes. the rotor. This oil can act as a lubricant on
CCGT facilities are outfitted with steam tur- Casing Cracks and Deformation. Due windings that are already prone to vibration,
bines that have been specifically designed for to the impact of thermal fatigue and potential as noted above, and can cause them to vibrate
combined-cycle operations rather than steam water or wet steam ingress, several examples much more readily, leading to the greasing
turbines that were originally intended for have been documented of casing cracks as described previously.
process duty or fossil-based service. well as component deformation. Thermal Sensitivity. While not specifi-
With the many different facilities respond- Rotor Bow. At least one plant, which was cally a cyclic operational issue, thermal sen-
ing in the study, researchers received a wide the subject of a site visit, experienced a rotor sitivity in generators has been known to be
diversity of responses. Some operators stated bow to the extent that it required remedial ac- aggravated by cycling operations.
that they have seen no negative consequences tion and will require further repairs during an Rotor Pole Cracking. At least one site
from high cycling of their steam turbines, upcoming maintenance interval. reported rotor pole cracking, which was a
while others stated that they have seen fair- Managing Differential Expansion. direct result of the additional stresses placed
ly drastic consequences. One of the project Several sites have noted issues with manag- on this unit as a result of the cycling opera-
managers interviewed at a non-OEM service ing differential expansion, and at least one tions. If such cracking has occurred at this
provider stated, There is a lot more being site had issues with the proper setup and one plant, and it is attributable to cycling, the
asked of these steam turbines with regards to calibration of the differential expansion in- likelihood that it may occur at other similarly
cyclic duty, and problems are showing up a strumentation. Having proper knowledge of situated facilities is increased.
lot sooner than compared to their older utili- the proper setup of this instrumentation and
ty-grade counterparts. proper understanding of how to manage the Control Valves
Issues identified in the study were sepa- relative growth between rotor and casing Due to extreme cycling, a number of issues
rated into four areas: steam turbines proper, during cycling are critical to preventing po- have been identified with STG control valves.
generators, plant startup and shutdown, and tentially significant damage to the critical Thermal Fatigue Leading to Crack-
control valves. clearances. ing. Naturally, these valves are experiencing
Rubs. Rubs between rotating and station- multiple heating and cooling cycles, as well
Steam Turbines ary components, whether radial or axial, can as occasional water ingestion or wet steam,
Steam turbines proper have been experienc- at best cause momentary vibration and mar- which will lead to localized quenching of the
ing a number of problems as the direct result ginal opening of tight clearances, and at worst components. This quenching, in turn, will

30 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
lead to cracking of the various components, net savings of $20,000 to $40,000 per year in
5. Start-up sequencing. This com-
which may at times be self-relieving. While valve maintenance. bined cycle plant in Italy has developed an op-
the cracking may be initiated by fatigue, the Spreadsheet Startup. Two sites utilized timized startup sequence that enables a hot
cycling will tend to propagate the crack. some form of Excel spreadsheet to facilitate restart on an 850-MW F-class unit in just 45
Solid Particle Erosion (SPE). Low-load startup. Use of the spreadsheet at one site minutes. Courtesy: EPRI
operations, especially in the power blocks of resulted in a site-specific, case-specific, and
multiple units such as 2x1 or 3x1 that oper- ambient-specific startup process, while the
ate in 1x1, keep the control valves pinched other appeared to optimize the startup to
back in order to maintain minimum pressure minimize fuel consumption. Development
on the HRSG. Because this action will cause of a similar type process for best practices
the steam to accelerate through the valve, any might be beneficial.
solids that might be entrained in the system Siemens X-Crit. A site visit to a plant that
are then jetted through the valve opening, utilizes Siemens equipment provided an op-
causing SPE on the valve stems. While re- portunity to witness the Siemens startup op-
pairable, this damage is costly and time con- timization system, which continually checks
suming to fix. permissives every step of the way, including
Control Valve Testing/Sticking. A num- what the control room operator referred to as
ber of factors can cause control valves to stick x-crits, or rotor-specific variables. Incorpo-
or fail during a periodic valve test. It can be rating similar permissive checks, something
electrical (for example, the control signal ini- that considers the OEM stress analyzer, into which steps need to be performed and time
tiating the test or providing test feedback can a spreadsheet type program would be useful. stamps each step. This then becomes an am-
be interrupted), or it can be hydraulic (such bient-specific, configuration-specific, startup
as the solenoid valve experiencing a fault Site Visits check-sheet.
such as varnishing or a clogged filter), or the In the EPRI study, based on the results of the Optimized Startup Sequencing. A
failure can be mechanical, because the valve initial interviews, four sites were selected for unit in Italy has optimized startup sequenc-
itself is actually stuck, and fails to travel follow-up on-site visits. These sites were cho- ing and is able to perform a hot restart on an
when tested. If this happens, proper precau- sen because the plants were doing something 850-MW F-class unit in 45 minutes (Figure
tions must be taken to safely shut down the unique, were deemed to be industry leading, 5). According to the site, hot starts (STG HP
STG without tripping the unit to prevent an or had experienced unique problems. Site inlet temperature >345C) are about 40 min-
overspeed event. Mechanical sticking of the visits lasted one to two days and, although utes, including a 5-minute purge timer; warm
control valve is most likely due to excessive this was not always possible, were meant to starts (STG HP inlet temperature 220C to
build-up of blue blush within the valve itself. witness a startup and shutdown cycle. Dur- 345C) require 1 hour; and cold starts (STG
Prudent maintenance practices dictate that ing the site visits, additional time was spent inlet <220C) require approximately 2 hours.
these valves be periodically disassembled, evaluating unique practices and how their Blades. A 2x1 facility based on F-class
cleaned, and the wear parts replaced in order processes and procedures were implemented technology has had significant issues with
for them to provide adequate STG protection. and used. the L-0 STG blades caused by water ero-
Non-OEM Parts. While many sites have Some unique approaches were observed sion and impingement. This facility also has
had very good luck with non-OEM parts, a during site visits. 3x1x1 7C/E units that have been in operation
few reports were made of incidents involving Thermal Blankets. A plant in the South- for about 40 years that have seen severe cy-
the use of such parts to repair control valves. west Power Pool region modified its STG to clic duty, and has a 1x1 7EA unit that has
While the incidents were not catastrophic in include heating blankets on the high-pressure also had the L-0 STG blades removed as the
nature, they did require additional forced out- (HP)/intermediate-pressure shell to maintain result of issues with resonance and tendon
ages to accommodate the repairs. temperatures, helping the plant to all but failures.
eliminate cold and warm restarts. These ther-
Plant Startup and Shutdown mal blankets are set to maintain temperatures Ongoing Evolutions
With regards to CCGT plant startup and shut- between 550F and 650F, depending upon the A number of issues in the steam turbine
down processes, a significant variation exists location. The plant is now able to initiate a and generator suggest further examination
across the industry, and developing a best warm or a cold start, in a 1x1 configuration, to improve cycling response is warranted.
practices procedure would be beneficial. and have the plant to minimum stable load The duty cycle of these units will continue
Fast Start. An Italian CCGT facility (with the gas turbine in Mode 6Q, which to change, and as was seen during the EPRI
profiled in the EPRI study utilized sparging means that it meets all environmental regula- study, some of the units that are cycling now
steam to maintain pressure on all three HRSG tory requirements) within 90 minutes. may in fact move towards a more base-loaded
drums, as well as steam seals, and established Spreadsheet. A plant dispatched into the profile, and some that are baseload units now
a very impressive record for startup and shut- Midcontinent Independent System Opera- might become peaking units in a few years.
down efficiency. This site could be utilized as tor utilizes a unique spreadsheet to optimize Whatever the case, these steam turbines
a template for best practices going forward. startup sequencing with the goal of minimiz- will continue to see the stresses of cycling
Bypass System Shutdown. A facil- ing gas consumption during startup. The operations, and prudent operations and main-
ity located in the Midwest has modified its spreadsheet accepts operator inputs on ambi- tenance personnel will have to be in a posi-
procedures during shutdown to prevent its ent conditions and calculates unit capacities tion to manage this stress.
bypass system from opening in an effort based on 1x1 and 2x1 operation with and Merrill Quintrell (mquintrell@epri.com)
to minimize wear-and-tear on the bypass without duct burners and chillers. The op- is a principal technical leader with the
valves. This site has estimated that the revi- erator can then enter projected startup time operations management and technology
sions to its startup procedures have realized requirements, and the spreadsheet identifies program in EPRIs generation sector.

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April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 31
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE

Facilitating Predictive
Maintenance of Electrical Assets
with Pervasive Sensing Strategies

Courtesy: Emerson Automation

Continuous condition-based monitoring of electrical conductors and insulation is an


effective way to reduce required plant maintenance activities, cut operating costs,
and prevent unplanned shutdowns. Collecting data during normal operation can
alert operators to problems in real time.
Jonathan P. Murray

E lectric utilities strive to improve reli-


ability in the face of challenges such
as fewer operators, aging assets, and
increased cycling. Critical asset failures re-
sulting in unplanned shutdowns of power
the various types of sensing systems used to
detect and predict problems in electrical as-
sets such as switchgear, bus duct, and circuit
breakers.
Left unattended, these conditions can lead to
failures or costly damage to the asset and sur-
rounding equipment, power production loss,
and in extreme cases, severe injury or death.
While diagnosing and detecting all poten-
generation must be avoided as they can cause Common Electrical Asset Issues tial problems in the myriad mix of equipment
lost production, environmental issues, litiga- Its no secret that downtime can be costly. (such as generator vibration or transformer
tion arising from injuries or fatalities, and Many power plant outages are due to fail- oil deterioration) are important, this article
repair and/or replacement of the damaged as- ure of critical electrical assets. Independent will concentrate on how to monitor three of
sets. Taken together, these issues can amount of the type of power plant, a typical power the main sources of electrical failures: over-
to millions of dollars of associated costs. delivery system includes assets such as heating of conductors, insulation breakdown,
To address these issues, asset maintenance generators, potential transformers, genera- and problems related to high levels of mois-
is transitioning from traditional reactive and tor circuit breakers (GCBs), line disconnect ture.
periodic strategies to proactive strategies, switches, step-up and step-down transform- Excessive Temperature. Circuit breaker,
including continuous condition-based moni- ers, segregated and nonsegregated bus ducts, bus bar, and cable connections tend to loosen
toring of electrical assets. Modern sensing medium-voltage switchgear, and other equip- and/or corrode over time, resulting in thermal
technology makes it possible to continu- ment needed to support the transmission and failure of the connection and nearby cable in-
ously monitor the health of these assets and distribution of power. sulation.
inform plant personnel whenor even be- Electrical assets are subject to overheating Partial Discharge (PD). As insulators
foreproblems arise. This article describes due to excessive loads, normal wear and tear, age, weak spots and defects evolve, and
the problem, the causes of asset failures, and and challenging environmental conditions. under certain load conditions, a dielectric

32 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
All manual inspections require trained Section 5.2) states that switchgear rated
1. Switchgear accident due to par-
tial discharge (PD). Switchgear failures technicians and specialized test equipment, with a maximum voltage of 15 kV must have
can cause substantial damage to equipment which is why they are often performed by an an impulse voltage of 95 kV. This relates to
and pose a serious hazard to plant personnel. outside service provider. Meanwhile, electri- a distance (in air) of about 160 millimeters.
Courtesy: Emerson Automation Solutions cal problems occurring after an inspection It means that the most common types of di-
can go undetected until the next inspection, rect contact temperature monitoring systems,
which could be a year or more away. During such as thermocouples and RTDs, cannot be
that time, small problems can become large used. That leaves only noninvasive systems,
ones, potentially leading to a complete fail- such as fiber optics, continuous IR sensing,
ure of the asset(s) and resulting in a power and wireless direct contact sensors, as moni-
shutdown. toring options.
A better solution is to employ continuous Wireless passive sensor systems provide
condition-based monitoring. This allows util- real-time continuous monitoring via direct
ity companies to collect data generated dur- connection to critical measurement points.
ing the assets normal operating conditions, These systems are easy to install, require no
thereby providing awareness to problems maintenance or yearly calibration, and have
in real time. Monitoring and trending data a life expectancy comparable to the assets
breakdown will initiate across the defect, of electrical stresses, vibration, insulation themselves. These sensors employ surface
causing a partial arc between conductors at breakdown, and environmental influences acoustic wave (SAW) technology (Figure 2).
different potentials. This effect is known as during full load also provides new insights Compared to other noninvasive sensors,
a partial discharge. The breakdown causes a into the health of the assets. By using this passive SAW temperature sensors have no
small but sudden rise in current accompanied data in conjunction with other asset parame- physical connection to a control device, do
by a current pulse, as well as electromagnetic ters, such as operating voltages and currents, not require batteries, and do not require line-
(radio or light), acoustic, and ozone emis- plant operators can plan proactive mainte- of-sight for measurements.
sions. Left unattended, this condition can nance and avoid catastrophic failure.
cause the switchgear to explode (Figure 1). Monitoring Partial Discharge
High Humidity. Moisture in switchgear Temperature Monitoring The most commonly used PD detection in-
equipment can create shorts or be absorbed Temperature monitoring is a primary method struments directly measure the current and
by the insulators, leading to insulation break- for detecting corrosion, wear, loose connec- voltage spikes with high-frequency current
down. Humidity also causes metallic corro- tions, and other problems associated with transformers or high-voltage capacitive cou-
sion and can lead to elevated heating, partial the assets conductors, such as bus bars and plers as outlined in the International Electro-
discharge, surface tracking, and the potential cables. One challenge in implementing con- technical Commissions IEC 60270 standard:
for shorts and flashover. tinuous temperature monitoring of critical Partial Discharge Measurements.
connection points in air-insulated assets is This method has several strengths, includ-
Inspecting Assets Manually that the sensors must maintain the impulse ing the ability to analyze pulse shapes and
Electrical asset monitoring is most often withstand voltage, also known as basic im- to assemble a graph of the discharge events
achieved through periodic manual inspec- pulse level (BIL). Consequently, conductors relative to the phase of the power line wave-
tions during an outage. These inspections at different potentials must have a mini- form. These systems are very expensive and
look for obvious problems such as physical mal distance between each other to prevent require trained technicians to analyze the
damage, frayed connectors, degraded insu- breakdown to ensure the impulse rating. An- data, and do not lend themselves to perma-
lation, and evidence of overheated compo- other key challenge involves how to power nent, continuous monitoring installations to
nents. Electrical measurements can also be the sensors to avoid regular maintenance re- cover the complete power delivery system.
conducted while power is off. Insulation re- quirements. Many utilities are currently evaluating
sistance in the panel enclosure, bus bars, cir- Specific to the BIL concern, the IEEE partial discharge detection methods outlined
cuit breakers, and other components can be Standards Associations C37.20.3 (Standard in accordance with IEC 62478, a prospective
checked by applying voltage with calibrated for Metal-Enclosed Interrupter Switchgear, standard for acoustic and electromagnetic
AC and DC hipot test sets. These tests will
also check contact resistance to confirm bus 2. SAW sensors. The three cylindrical orange surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensors in the
bar joints are connected properly. middle of this photo are continuously transmitting temperature data via wireless connectivity.
Manual inspections can also be conducted Courtesy: Emerson Automation Solutions
while power is on using infrared (IR) equip-
ment. Periodic IR monitoring techniques
require a tempered glass window to be in-
stalled in the asset, a relatively expensive IR
camera, and a trained technician. One sig-
nificant limitation of this type of inspection
is that personnel cannot perform monitoring
procedures behind bus insulators or in assets
that cannot be reached, such as isophase bus
ducts, because line-of-sight is required with
IR technology. Moreover, IR technology is a
measure of emissivity, as opposed to an ac-
tual point-of-contact temperature.

|
April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 33
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
from the metal ionize the air. Asymmetric
3. Continuous PD monitoring graph. Continuous trending of partial discharge
shows periodic spikes due to condensing humidity that may have been missed with noncon-
discharge (also called corona or surface dis-
tinuous detection methods. Courtesy: Emerson Automation Solutions charge) presents significant results at both
odd and even harmonics of the power line
Ongoing PD Periodic PD Humidity
frequency.
nC cumulative/cycle Symmetric Discharge. Discharge events
RH%
that occur in the bulk of the material, often
30
referred to as internal or symmetric partial
26 100 discharge, happen at the positive and nega-
tive polarity portions of the power cycle and
22 80 are often represented as even harmonics of
18 the power line frequency.
60 One of the causes of partial discharges is
14 excessive humidity, which condenses onto
40 cables and connectors. Continuous UHF
10 monitoring can detect these voltage spikes
6 20 (Figure 3).

Continuous Condition-Based
Monitoring
4. Ovation screenshot. The Ovation distributed control system trend shown here dis- Complete critical asset monitoring systems
plays information received from an electrical asset monitoring system. Courtesy: Emerson Au- are available with temperature, humidity,
tomation Solutions and PD sensing capabilities. In addition to
the wireless temperature and PD sensors out-
lined above, wired sensors are often installed
on the asset enclosure to provide ambient
temperature and humidity readings. Ambient
temperature readings are important because
critical issues involve temperature rise of hot
spots above ambient, as opposed to absolute
temperature.
A typical continuous condition-based
monitoring system for an electrical asset
includes a monitoring unit connecting tem-
perature, humidity, and partial discharge.
Each Temp & PD Air Interface, a branded
system provided by Emerson, uses banded
UHF technology to sense PD directly. Each
air interface device can also wirelessly link
to three or more SAW temperature sensors.
Up to four air interfaces can be wired to
the monitoring unit via low-loss coaxial ca-
PD measurements. These methods use non- continuous monitoring requires distillation bles. The monitoring unit can also accept up
conventional instruments to make indirect of an overwhelming amount of complex data to eight conventionally wired humidity and
analytical measurements and obtain a relative down to a concise piece of information, all ambient temperature sensors, which are well
signature of PD pulses that can be used for without the intervention of a highly trained suited for making measurements of these
system trending. operator. To provide an autonomous ap- variables in bus ducts.
As PD pulse currents have short rise times proach for PD monitoring, advanced system The monitoring unit can be a full-featured
(<1 nanosecond) and exiting electromagnetic algorithms must be implemented to present human-machine interface (HMI) with moni-
waves, a common technique uses a broad- data that can be easily processed for health toring capabilities or a unit providing remote
band antenna to monitor these waves in the assessment and long-term system trending. monitoring capabilities. The monitoring unit
ultra-high-frequency (UHF) range between UHF emission signals can be broken into provides all the necessary wireless interro-
300 MHz and 3 GHz. Traditional UHF meth- three major categories. gation signals for the SAW sensors through
ods are susceptible to noise from cell phones, Noise. Noise denotes UHF energy in the the air interface device. It also implements
radios, and other transmitters. However, selected frequency band(s) not in close corre- the PD detection algorithms internally and
newer instruments use selective, banded, and lation with the power line frequency. External communicates directly with the humidity and
filtered UHF monitoring to detect partial dis- radio interference is a reliable classification ambient temperature sensors.
charges while rejecting noise sources. UHF of noise; however, weak and erratic partial All data is accessible through industry
provides the safest, most nonintrusive con- discharge, which occurs early in the evolu- standard Modbus RTU (RS485), DNP3, or
tinuous PD monitoring system. tion of a defect, is also a noise classification. IEC-61850 communication protocols afford-
Asymmetric Discharge. Events occur ing ease of integration into a plants exist-
Detecting UHF Partial Discharge primarily on the negative half-cycle of the ing supervisory control and data acquisition
Effective UHF partial discharge detection for power waveform, where electrons emitted (SCADA) system, historian, or distributed

34 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
ate and provide feedback when unmanned. about $100,000 to repair and resulted in two
5. Bushing failure. Continuous temper-
ature monitoring detected a looming problem
Temperature, PD, and humidity monitor- weeks of lost production. To predict and
with these generator circuit breaker bushings, ing systems were installed in the bus ducts, prevent these types of failures in the future,
which were subsequently replaced during transformer connections, and disconnect the plant installed a continuous monitoring
scheduled downtime prior to catastrophic fail- switches. All data is transmitted wirelessly system to monitor bus duct temperature, PD,
ure. Courtesy: Emerson Automation Solutions back to servers for data analysis, allowing and humidity (see opening photo). The data
the utility to operate these remote facilities collected by the system is sent to the plants
with confidence. Ovation automation system where operators
Preventing Another Bus Duct Failure. can continuously monitor it.
A utility based in the southern U.S. had a Jonathan Murray is the Director
failure on a bus duct running from the gen- of IntelliSAW Products at Emerson
erator to the step-up transformer that cost Automation Solutions

BE IN CONTROL
WITH CIRCOR GENERAL & SEVERE
control system (DCS). Figure 4 is a screen-
shot of a display on an Ovation DCS showing
SERVICE CONTROL VALVES
monitoring system data.
From turbine bypass systems to balance of plant
Results from Continuous Monitoring applications, CIRCOR offers a comprehensive
The following are examples of continuous portfolio of general service to highly engineered,
condition-based monitoring in action at vari- severe service control valve solutions that enable Leslie Aeroflow
ous power plants. you to immediately improve efficiencies and reduce
Keeping an Eye Out for Humidity Is- long term maintenance costs.
sues. A large utility in the southeastern U.S.
operates a multiunit peaking combustion Reliable, durable and engineered for performance, when
turbine power plant. The plant operators are it comes to achieving plant productivity, think CIRCOR.
tasked with quickly bringing generating ca- Contact us today and well show you how you can be
pacity online, requiring cold starts.
in total control.
In the high-humidity environment found
in this part of the U.S., this type of operation Schroedahl AC
was causing corrosion of generator circuit
breaker switch contacts. Frequent manual
inspection with corresponding forced down-
time was required to prevent system failures.
A continuous asset monitoring system was
installed on the GCBs and bus ducts.
The system provides continuous real-time
views of asset health. Data is wirelessly trans-
RTK REflex
mitted to the control room and integrated into
the facilitys OSIsoft PI process historian.
The asset monitoring system detected ex-
cessive temperatures on four of the six GCB
bushings (Figure 5), and a scheduled main-
tenance inspection during a period of low
demand confirmed bushing deterioration.
The bushings were replaced and operation
returned to normal. This averted a failure that
could have cost about $250,000 to repair and Excellence In Flow Control
may have caused weeks of downtime.
Remote monitoring. A major utility in
the western U.S. operates a number of hydro-
electric power plants on various rivers. Many Leslie Controls Schroedahl RTK
of these plants are small and simple, so the
www.circorpowerprocess.com | power@circor.com
utility is transitioning to unmanned operation.
The utility implemented condition-based
monitoring to ensure its plants would oper-

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April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 35
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE

New Approaches for Transformer


Operation and Maintenance

Courtesy: ABB

Technology advancements and new regulatory requirements could reshape how


power plant owners operate and maintain large power transformers. Experts out-
line emerging strategies and call attention to overlooked components that could
help prevent transformer failure.
Sonal Patel

P
ower transformers are arguably one of extend transformer life: proactive actions and partial discharge activity can be measured.
the most expensive and vital compo- advanced diagnostics. Utilities would opt for additional testing like
nents in a power system. While they Advanced diagnostics involves service of- the partial discharge test if proactive monitor-
are typically reliable and relatively low- ferings by vendors to more aggressively treat ing indicates an issue, McIver said.
maintenance, sudden failures can result in your transformers, McIver said. What you Other advanced diagnostic methods include
the loss of power generation along with con- would really like is to be able to take some frequency response analysis (FRA), which in-
siderable costs and potentially wider implica- piece of complicated electronics out. Hook vestigates the mechanical integrity of trans-
tions for grid reliability. it up to the transformer. It does its measure- former windings. Generally, the test puts a
According to SPX Transformer Solutions, ments, and it comes back and it tells you, This low-voltage, high-frequency impulse into the
a U.S. maker of medium and large power is whats wrong with the transformer: This transformer, and based on the wave shapes
transformers, and which is also a trans- particular piece only has 1,000 more hours of that are reflected back, an assessment can be
former service solution provider, electrical service left in it. Go inside the tank and replace made about how the transformer windings
disturbances are a leading cause of power this particular component and avoid a failure. are configured physicallyhow close togeth-
transformer failure. An analysis it conducted Modern advanced diagnostics offerings in- er they are and how tall they are and what their
of major failures between 1991 and 2010 clude mechanical or electrical measurements diameter is, all of those things, explained Mc-
(Figure 1) showed that phenomena such as taken from the outside of the transformer to Iver. Another advanced diagnostic method is
switching surges, voltage spikes, line faults/ determine the state of the insides ... without the dielectric frequency response test, which
flashovers, and other utility abnormalities are having to open it up and climb inside, because is an electrical test similar to the FRA to deter-
overwhelmingly responsible for transformer theres a big cost involved if you have to de- mine if the insulation is failing.
failures. Insulation, moisture, and foreign ob- energize the transformer, drain the oil, and It narrows down your source of investiga-
jects were also notable causes. open up all these sealed openings and have tion, and thats good, he said. Any of these
somebody try to crawl around inside. advanced diagnostics are trying to make a con-
Advanced Diagnostics Partial discharge measurements, for exam- clusion based off of something that you can
According to Jim McIver, technology director ple, offered by a number of companies includ- measure externally. The risk is there that they
at Siemens Transformers U.S., routine mainte- ing Siemens, allow assessment of the health of dont give you a real definitive result or they
nance can help a transformer last up to 40 years an insulation system using noninvasive mea- dont specifically point to one particular area.
and avoid most debilitating issues. But he also surement and analysis. Typically, the trans- However, advanced diagnostics are far
pointed to two emerging maintenance areas former is taken out of service and hooked up from a conventional maintenance step. McIver
that could enhance performance and protect or to a test-voltage source so that high-frequency noted: Theres a lot of interesting things be-

38 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
taken into more comprehensive offline over-
1. Causes of transformer failures between 1991 and 2010 (as a percent-
haul, she said.
age of total failures). Source: SPX Transformer Solutions
Space Weather
One glaring cause of transformer failure is
Electric disturbances age. According to the Department of Energys
Lightning Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Re-
28%
27% liability, the average age of large power trans-
Insulation
formers installed in the U.S. is between 38
Electrical connection and 40 years. The office said in an April 2014
Overload report that more than 70% of the nations large
2% Foreign objects power transformers are probably 25 years or
older, noting there are some units well over
3% Moisture
13% 40 years oldand some even older than 70
4% Line disturbance yearsthat are still operating on the grid. The
4% 6% 9% Stress or fatigue office worries that because more than 90% of
4% Other consumed power passes through these large
power transformers at some point, they are
one of the most vulnerable components on
ing proposed, but I dont think the industry is of water is found in the solid paper insulation. the grid, faced with a wide range of potential
really at a point where a lot of those things are Higher water content leads to accelerated threats including severe weather, space weath-
generally being done to show payback. deterioration of the paper, reducing its degree er, and physical attacks.
Transformer owners should more prudently of polymerization, the company said. Mois- In recent years, industry observers have
focus efforts on routine maintenanceexam- ture and heat provide an optimal environment raised alarms about geomagnetic disturbanc-
ining and changing out gaskets every three for various compounds in the oilsuch as ac- es (GMD), which occur when the sun ejects
years and bushings per the manufacturers ids and metal ionsto react with the cellulose charged particles that interact with and cause
recommendations, for examplebut also pay molecules and break them down. changes in Earths magnetic fields. These
attention to proactive actions, such as condition- When relative moisture saturation surges charged particles can cause currents to enter
based maintenance, and especially monitoring. beyond 20%, the dielectric strength of oil the grid through long conductors.
starts to decrease rapidly, Vaisala said. Ex- According to Dom Corsi, a senior trans-
Advances in Monitoring ceptional high-loading events could also drive former engineer at Watertown, Mass.based
Monitoring itself doesnt change the behavior excess moisture from the paper into the oil, Doble Engineering Co., GMDs can essentially
of the transformer, McIver noted. The inter- creating relative moisture saturation of 100% overheat a transformers internal component
esting part about that is in terms of industry and the formation of free water. That could structure and affect actual current carry. And
philosophy. A lot of people pretty much just increase the risk of corrosion and rust parti- the other thing that happens is, because these
run transformers to the failure point. Theyre cles in oil circulation pipes and radiators, or currents flow in the transformer and impact the
very big, very expensive devices and, as they worse, form around active parts, resulting in transformer by producing a bias on the core, the
get older, theres not a good financial justifi- discharge that could cause catastrophic dam- transformer will saturate, he told POWER in
cation to do dramatic changes to the device age to the transformer. February. During the saturation events, theres
while its still in service. So the monitoring Traditionally, industry understanding of a significant change in the transformers magne-
really just gives owners a measure of the trans- moisture dynamics in transformer oil has main- tizing characteristics (Figure 2), which causes it
formers health and tells them which parts to ly been based on samples taken once annually to draw reactive power from the grid. When the
concentrate on and watch more closely. that provide a limited snapshot of oil health, transformer draws reactive power from the grid,
Advances in monitoring include real-time explained Steven Jiroutek, regional segment it can set up a system disturbance, which will
sensors, which can deliver valuable results. manager for industrial applications at Vaisala. lead to an instability. If you cant compensate
One notable example is industrial measure- However, growing use of online moisture for the instability, then you have the probability
ment provider Vaisalas real-time sensor for monitoring instruments in the global power of a cascading network event.
moisture in transformer insulation oil. An el- sector means more utilities can access 24/7 Another impact is thermal, Corsi said. When
evated moisture level in transformer oil is a streaming data to monitor the condition of their the transformer saturates, the transformer flux
widely recognized root cause of failures, be- transformers. Integrating these instruments into spills out of the core. This affects the transform-
cause moisture essentially diminishes the abil- a comprehensive monitoring system and ana- er in two different ways: One is the additional
ity of oil to act as an insulator. lyzing real-time trends is enabling owners and main flux that spilled into the structural compo-
Moisture content in solid insulation after managers to make better, more cost-effective nents and windings, creating additional heating.
initial factory drying is between 0.5% and 1%, maintenance and service decisions. But also, because of the saturation, the harmonic
depending on requirements, but it starts to in- Senja Leivo, a senior industry expert at content of this flux results in induced currents
crease gradually over the operating lifetime of Vaisala, told POWER that while moisture sen- that also reach harmonics, which adds to the
the transformer. Vaisala said that one critical sors have been on the market for nearly 20 heating component.
moisture source is residual moisture contained years, Vaisalas device, designed for installa- In 2012, Earth experienced a near miss
in thick structural cellulose components, which tion directly into the oil circulation pipe of a by an extreme coronal mass ejection. Since
enters into transformer components from the transformer, was launched recently and has then, several agencies have been exploring a
air. Small amounts of moisture may also be several installations globally. If moisture lev- number of grid resiliency solutions to coun-
generated as a byproduct of cellulose decom- els are found to be too high, the transformer ter the potential GMD threat. The Federal
position. In a power transformer, the majority can be equipped with an online oil dryer or Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in

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April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 39
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE

2. A magnetizing effect. Geomagnetic Table 1. Significant deadlines for compliance with the North American Re-
disturbances due to solar activity can lead to liability Corp.s Transmission System Planned Performance for Geomagnet-
geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) in ic Disturbance Events reliability standard (TPL-007-1). Source: Doble Engineering
power system networks. These GICs are qua-
si-DC in nature (0.01 Hz to 0.5 Hz) and could Date Requirement
saturate the core of a power transformer. The Jan. 1, 2017 Reliability standard takes effect
saturation of the core due to these currents
July 1, 2017 Identify roles and responsibilities within utility
may spur increased magnetizing currents,
peaking beyond the nominal current of the Aug. 1, 2017 Completion by network planners of geomagnetically induced current (GIC) models
unit. This image illustrates a sample exciting Network planners to provide transmission and generation owners with GIC flow information,
current magnetizing pulse due to GIC events. Jan. 1, 2019
which specifies transformers that are subject to the GIC disturbance benchmark event
Courtesy: Trafoexperts
Jan. 1, 2021 Transmission and generation owners complete GIC thermal impact assessments
Transmission and generation owners complete corrective actions such as monitoring or
Jan. 1, 2022
refurbishment

mal impact assessment on their high-side, nently by a rifle attack in April 2013 at Pacific
wye grounded transformers of more than Gas & Electrics 500-kV substation in Met-
200 kV based on a maximum effective GIC calf, Calif., where multiple individuals report-
valuewhich, according to the standard, is 75 edly shot at high-voltage transformer radiators
amperes per phase or greater. If, per that as- with .30 caliber rounds, causing them to leak
sessment, these transformers cannot withstand cooling oil, overheat, and become inopera-
thermal transient effects associated with the tive. In November 2014, FERC approved a
benchmark GMD event, transmission own- NERC-submitted physical security reliability
3. Transformer armor. Armor steel ers and generators must implement corrective standard (CIP-014-1), which went into effect
shielding of transformers and power equip- action plans developed by coordinators and in January 2015. Essentially the standard re-
ment is part of the hardening process to transmission planners. quires transmission owners and operators to
provide components with advanced ballistic- Corsi noted that the timeline for NERC identify and protect substations and associ-
level protection against physical attack. ABBs
compliance kicked off on January 1, 2017. ated primary control centers. It calls on them
AssetShield solution is designed to safeguard
After network planners determine full GIC to perform initial risk assessments to iden-
and protect large power transformers and
other substation equipment. Courtesy: ABB parameters as required by January 2019, trans- tify critical facilities, and to evaluate potential
formers identified as vulnerable to GIC distur- threats and vulnerabilities of a physical attack
bances would need to complete thermal impact on those facilities by November 2016.
assessments by January 2021 (Table 1). Operational measures that could make criti-
Companies like Doble can help utilities cal equipment more secure include reinforced
meet the NERC standard by performing an perimeter fencing with opaque bulletproof
engineering study on transformers older than walls, multiple fencing layers, and electronic
20 years (whose design review documenta- motion sensors on fencing with multiple sys-
tion may not be readily available) to establish tem triggers. Metalaxs expanded metal se-
power transformer capabilities while under curity fencing solution, for example, offers
GMDs, following guidelines established by smaller openings, a rigid design, and ballis-
the IEEE Standards Association, specifically, tic resistance compared to typical chain-link
IEEE C57.163-2015. This guide specifies pa- fencing. Other measures include enhanced
September 2016 approved a reliability stan- rameters and performance characteristics and lighting systems and remote surveillance.
dard submitted in January 2015 by interstate evaluation techniques for power transformers Zurich-based technology firm ABB also
grid security monitor North American Reli- to help minimize risks and impacts when GIC recommends equipment and substation hard-
ability Corp. (NERC) that, for the first time, is present in the power system. ening using cooling resiliency solutions and
establishes mandatory requirements for grid porcelain-free dry bushings (which it makes),
entities to guard against GMDs. A Physical Approach which could eliminate the risk of explosion or
The standard, TPL-007-1, essentially ap- Physical threats to high-voltage transformers fire. The company also recommends bullet-
plies to power transformers with windings are another emerging worry that has engulfed resistant technology. In November 2015, it
on the high-voltage side that are connected at transformer owners and legislators alike. Be- rolled out its AssetShield ballistic protection
200 kV or higher in a wye configuration and cause they are behemothsa typical 345-kV solution (Figure 3), and it has since bagged
have a grounded neutral connection. Every 60 unit can weigh up to 435 tonsthey are eas- three orders from major U.S. utilities for the
months, network planning coordinators and ily identifiable alongside power plants, or in impact and fragmentation-protective system
transmission planners must assess and report network substations. Transformer experts as- designed for transformers, switchgear, cir-
how vulnerable their system is to geomagneti- sert that a bad actor with basic knowledge of cuit breakers, and capacitors. The solutions
cally induced current (GIC) disturbances, and transformer design could inflict irreparable optimized combination of coating and steel
whether their system can withstand a 1-in- damage. Such attacks can cause massive elec- reduces the kinetic energy of the bullets and
100-year benchmark GMD event without trical short circuits and oil fires that would de- reduces spalling after impact, it said.
causing a wide-area blackout, voltage col- stroy a transformer and damage surrounding (An extended version of this article is
lapse, or transformer damage. infrastructure. available online at www.powermag.com.)
Additionally, it requires that transmis- The vulnerability of individual transformer Sonal Patel is a POWER
sion owners and generators conduct a ther- substations was demonstrated most promi- associate editor.

40 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
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OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE

Enhanced Boiler Defense


Strategies for an Aging Coal Fleet

Courtesy: Duke Energy

Cyclic operating conditions can be problematic for many coal-fired power plants
that were designed to run as baseload units. Implementing a combustion and boiler
performance management program can help ensure equipment is optimized and
operating efficiently.
Stephen K. Storm and Randel L. Kaupang

A
s the coal generating fleet ages, it still months, the coal fleet still depends on lower reliability improvements
competes for a position on the power capacity factor (Tier 3) units to raise the gen- Achieving emission goals with maximum
generation dispatch list against an in- eration peaks, whereas Duke Energys higher reliability
creasingly diverse energy mix. Furthermore, capacity factor units (Tier 1) serve as the foun-
as the fleet adapts to new operational profiles, dation, with more consistent operational peri- Application of this defense strategy de-
units suffer from changing thermal transient ods, even during nonpeak seasons. The harsh mands a holistic approach with a strategically
conditions that increase the risk of component reality is that with the continued onset of gas developed team working together to address
failures. and renewable power generation, capacity equipment reliability, fuels management, fuel
Duke Energy has developed a strategy that factors across the entire coal fleet are lower delivery, water chemistry, and overall asset
includes traditional, new and more intelligent than ever. management for the power generation fleet.
prognostic assessments to help ensure safe, Along with increased cycling comes an Duke Energy believes aligning people, pro-
efficient, and event-free operations. Through increase in the number of unit starts at each cess, and monitoring technologies are key to
improved awareness and diagnostics, the plant (Figure 2). The number of cold starts has addressing operational challenges. Alarming,
company is striving to strengthen the overall the most significant impact on the transient tracking, and managing boiler components
defense strategy with an approach that is less thermal conditions. Therefore, units today to mitigate damage mechanisms helps create
reactive and more proactive, averting dam- must become more flexible to prevent dam- awareness of reliability concerns.
age that shortens the remaining useful life of age to boiler components, boiler insulation,
boiler components. casings, expansion joints, structural supports, Improving Capabilities
turbines, and more. Recently, there have been significant industry
Managing Plant Performance In an effort to protect its assets and ulti- improvements in process and control instru-
The Combustion and Boiler Performance mately keep units economically viable, Duke mentation that can be used for online moni-
Program within Duke Energy Fossil Hydro Energys strategy for protecting its coal fleet toring and cost control. Online performance
Operations is focused on improving boiler includes the following: tools with integrated thermodynamic models,
reliability and performance through variables optimizers, and trending capabilities are now
that are operator controllable. Most of Duke Applying sound engineering fundamen- commonly being used for real-time evalua-
Energys coal-fired steam generators were tals, including qualitative and quantitative tions of various component, and overall power
originally designed for baseload operations best practices, through a programmatic ap- plant, performance.
rather than cyclic conditions that exist today. proach However, one of the challenges with new
For example, Figure 1 shows total gen- Applying technology to enhance proactive technologies is the transfer of the intelligence
eration during a 16-month period, with each capabilities into operational actions in a timely and pro-
color representing a single coal-fired steam Integrating people, process, and technol- active manner to help operators understand
generator. During the winter and summer ogy to enhance intelligence (foresight) for the impacts on unit reliability, aging, and ul-

42 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
and modeling fuels, blends, and firing strategies
1. Variable output. Each of Duke Energys 34 operational coal-fired units are color coded
to predict the impacts on corrosion rates (mils/
in this chart showing generation produced during a 16-month period between 2015 and 2016.
Courtesy: Duke Energy year tube wall loss) at a given stoichiometry.
Fuel flexibility, combustion performance,
heat transfer changes from fuels, and flue gas
volume also affect nearly all environmental
controls equipment, demanding attention to
detail, along with intelligent process equip-
Generation (MWh)

ment and optimization controls. This is espe-


cially true for the units faced with load cycling,
fuel quality variation, and stringent environ-
mental regulations. Ideally, the analysis of
boiler performance (efficiency and reliability)
should have adequate key performance indica-
tors to detect alarms and provide the needed
intelligence to change operational conditions
and mitigate events before they occur.
Whether it is real-time, online, or offline,
Month practical and functional feedback from the
process instrumentation and plant equipment
2. Unit starts. This chart shows the number of starts each unit performed in 2016. Cour- assessments must be comprehensive, yet sim-
tesy: Duke Energy plified, to be productive. Operations require
the available feedback and knowledge base to
react when faced with operational challenges.
This is exacerbated with >40-year-old boil-
ers competing with more efficient combined
cycle gas unitsand their responsiveness to
the changing dispatch curvesand renewable
Number of starts

power generation. Other variables that are es-


sential include the tools, equipment, and staff
required to collect representative samples for
periodic performance analysis.

Teamwork Is Essential
The first step is to define the measurement
process and then recognize the tools required
to identify and reduce gaps in performance.
Therefore, this requires both dynamic tools
Unit and management processes that are grounded
on fundamentals and reliable measurements.
3. Duke Energys Combustion and Boiler Performance Program metric. Sev- Nothing is more effective than a team of
en different categories are assessed to identify areas ripe for improvement. Courtesy: Duke Energy professionals working together for a common
good. The joint effort initiatives through Duke
(1) Excess air control
Energys central services team are aimed at
supporting and strengthening the companys
(2) Mill-burner performance
(7) Training (and condition)
capability to assess boiler components and
prioritize improvements needed for simultane-
ous reliability, thermal efficiency, and environ-
mental performance improvements.
The incentives for implementation of a com-
prehensive program are easily justifiable in fuel
(6) Fuels prep (3) Boiler heat transfer
optimization cost, heat rate, and overall operating perfor-
mance that includes generation, startup fuels,
environmental implications, and additional op-
erations and maintenance costs that are related
(5) Air-gas flow
to forced outages. Figure 3 offers an example
(4) Combustion byproducts
metric used by Duke Energy to benchmark in-
timately, the expected useful life of boiler Fuel properties also significantly influence dividual station performance (Table 1) in order
components. Much like a doctor practicing performance and emissions. Trending and un- to identify areas for improvement so that the
medicine, technology, instruments, and health derstanding the fuel-related effects on boiler highest standards can be achieved.
assessments can be deployed to help ensure that performance and components are imperative for
boilers continue to age gracefully in an effort high efficiency, dispatch optimization, and reli- Beyond Benchmarking
to mitigate unexpected life-threatening events. ability. This can be accomplished by monitoring Going beyond best practices, but not to be

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April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 43
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
15% of total losses. However, if performance
Table 1. Benchmarking variables. This table shows variables evaluated through
is not optimal, the controllable losses can re-
Duke Energys combustion and boiler performance program. Prior to data collection, all controls,
instrumentation, and process variables should be established, functionally checked, tuned, and sult in an even greater degradation in boiler
optimized. Source: Duke Energy and overall plant performance.
Controllable losses are often related to dry
Item Description Subset Parameter
flue gas and carbon losses, which are in turn
1 Excess air control A Measured furnace exit O2 related to combustion. The best boiler effi-
B Measure boiler outlet O2 actual ciency and reliability can be attained if losses
C Control indicated boiler outlet excess O2 are kept to a minimum. Because half of the
losses are typically dependent on the fuel and
D Deviation between boiler exit and actual furnace values
ambient condition, the best efficiency can be
E Deviation between actual boiler exit and the indicated value achieved through optimal settings, tuning of
2 Mill-burner performance A Assess clean airflow imbalances the boiler, and its auxiliary equipment.
(and condition) Some combustion optimization steps include:
B Assess dirty airflow imbalances
C Assess fuel flow distribution (test and/or permanent instrumentation) Monitoring air-fuel distribution with tem-
D Collect representative coal fineness samples; (weighted values), porary and/or real-time instrumentation to
% through 200m provide feedback for air-fuel distribution
E Collect representative coal fineness samples; (weighted values), and control.
% retained on 50m Monitoring mill horsepower per ton to de-
F Assess primary air-fuel ratios
tect mill performance degradation after a
mill is rebuilt, tested, and proven.
G Assess mechanical burner condition and tolerances (including
airflow damper controls)
Optimizing unit performance using feed-
back from representative economizer outlet
3 Boiler heat transfer A Assess furnace exit gas temperature (FEGT), O2, CO
O2 and CO measurement equipment.
optimization
Applying performance-driven mainte-
B Evaluate superheat (SH) spray flow rates
nance, modeling, tuning, and optimization
C Evaluate reheat (RH) spray flow rates (% of feedwater flow) to achieve optimal performance.
D Assess air preheater (APH) efficiency Mechanically managing and optimizing
E Assess APH X-ratio firing system components, using an inter-
nal database for conditional assessment
F Assess APH leakage rates
of components. (This can also be used
G Assess APH outlet temperatures (corrected to no-leakage) for blueprinting milling and firing system
H Assess sootblower availability-IK (long retracts) equipment to specifications.) With cyclic
I Assess sootblower availability-IR (wall blowers) operations, it is a challenge to sustain op-
J Assess boiler efficiency timal mechanical geometry and centering
of air zones with low-NOx burners that are
4 Combustion byproducts A Evaluate losses due to unburned carbon in ash (weighted average for
fly ash and bottom ash) out of service and suffering from thermal
distortion. Closer visual inspection of burn-
B Evaluate boiler exit/selective catalytic reduction (SCR) inlet NOx
ers with drones should be considered for a
C Evaluate boiler exit CO (ppm) cost-effective approach to conducting burn-
D Evaluate fly ash particle sizing er assessments (Figure 4).
5 Air-gas flow A Evaluate forced draft fan dampers, % at full load
B Evaluate induced draft (ID) fan dampers, % at full load Combustion and boiler performance as-
sessments should also include the following:
C Evaluate total system air in-leakage (furnace to ID fan)
6 Fuels prep A Evaluate top size of raw coal (gauging screen/crusher) Assess firing conditions (for example, mills
B Evaluate process for coal quality control in/out of service, damper stroking, out of
C Evaluate coal treatment systems; chemical consumption details service burners, etcetera)
(fuel, SCR, dry sorbent injection, flue gas desulphurization) Ensure optimal fan performance and mar-
7 Training A Evaluate site-specific training needs gins exist for the as-fired fuels
Optimize furnace exit gas temperature
confused with the previously mentioned Boil- Boiler water chemistry control (FEGT) to ensure proper lower furnace
er Performance Program benchmarking as- Fireside corrosion and thermal fatigue miti- heat transfer
sessment, some examples of proactive actions gation Validate boiler O2 representation and balance
being deployed to enhance Duke Energys Air in-leakage control Obtain representative boiler exit O2 and CO
boiler defense strategy and prevent common Sootblower and fly ash erosion mitigation measurements at the immediate boiler out-
boiler failure mechanisms on its aging coal Air heater fouling mitigation and air-gas let (These are key components for real-time
fleet include the following: management improvements dynamic combustion optimization.)
Collect routine fly ash samples for consis-
Combustion optimization Combustion Optimization. As with tent loss on ignition (LOI) analyses
Slag and clinker fall mitigation most large pulverized coal-fired boilers, boiler Optimize desuperheating spray flow rates
Boiler tube overheat mitigation efficiency losses account for about 10% to Conduct routine visual observations or,

44 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
4. Drone inspections. Burners can be improved visual observations obtained using monitor for changes in steam or gas flow.
easily inspected using the latest technology. the PyrOptix imaging module allows obser- Optimize combustion and heat transfer (in-
Courtesy: Duke Energy vation of historically problematic zones for cluding sootblower availability and boiler
slag buildup in real-time. It also allows view- cleaning system work management).
ing time-lapse videos of up to 720 hours in Conduct periodic high-velocity thermo-
duration. The cameras have the capability of couple (HVT) testing to validate furnace
tracking slagging index values and trending stoichiometry, and proper lower and upper
changes in boiler cleanliness (which affects furnace heat transfer.
heat transfer). They can help identify a units Validate accuracy of FEGT measurement
susceptibility to a clinker fall. across the load range to ensure fireside and
Flex load operations yield the ability to ob- steamside compatibility.
serve boiler cleanliness in an effort to prevent
over-cleaning and unnecessary boiler tube Boiler Water Chemistry Control. Prop-
erosion. The main screen of the slag index erly managing boiler water chemistry is es-
software contains a live camera image as well sential for any boiler reliability program. This
as the selected frame, binary detected slag is especially important with cyclic operations
ideally, real-time observations with infra- frame, and data chart for trending cleanliness. and the combined impact of thermal cycling
red cameras to validate boiler cleanliness, The visual tracking of slag propensity also on the chemistry of water and steam. In an ef-
flame patterns, impingements, large par- provides real-time feedback for chemical sav- fort to interrelate operational conditions with
ticle ash (LPA) carryover to the upper fur- ings with coal treatment systems. chemistry key performance indicators, Duke
nace, etcetera Boiler Tube Overheat Mitigation. As the Energy is piloting the ability to monitor sev-
Monitor system pressure measurements coal fleet ages, it is important to understand eral water chemistry parameters.
and variation from side to side (furnace-to- what components are at risk of failure. One Additionally, the company is continuously
convective pass, boiler outlet to air preheat- very common failure with cyclic operations monitoring for potential water chemistry dam-
er [APH], APH differentials, APH outlet to is short- and long-term overheating of boiler age mechanisms; consolidating ramp rates,
induced draft fan discharge) tube circuits. However, with adequate gas pH, dissolved O2, and cation conductivity
Assess mill performance (amps, horsepow- temperature monitoring, using thermocouples parameters; and monitoring chemistry key
er/ton, differentials, inlet/outlet tempera- mounted on tube circuits, this failure mecha- performance indicators as a step towards miti-
tures, etcetera) nism is also very preventable. Figure 5 shows gating corrosion fatigue and flow accelerated
Review environmental performance one example of monitoring and tracking long- corrosion. Oxide cracking (corrosion fatigue)
term overheating (LTOH). is most likely to occur during on/off cycles
Slag and Clinker Fall Mitigation. Visual Monitoring tube temperatures is important. and transient operations.
observations are important when assessing the Some steps that can help include the following: Fireside Corrosion and Thermal Fa-
impact of fuels, combustion, and/or boiler per- tigue Mitigation. Monitoring furnace exit
formance (heat transfer). Periodically map- Ensure reliability of thermocouples for gas temperature is especially important during
ping the visual slag propensity and buildup in monitoring circuit temperatures. This is cold startups. When baseload-designed coal
a furnace can help identify problematic con- paramount for monitoring both short- and plants are cycling on or off, it is likely that the
ditions. Elevated slag propensity reduces heat long-term overheating events when tube units will have boiler tube circuits overheating
transfer in the furnace components and thus temperatures breach alarm limits. due to low SH/RH steam pressure differentials
elevates the FEGT. This can lead to clinker Continuously monitor reheat (RH) and and/or inadequate baking off of condensate in
falls that can damage and/or force the unit into superheat (SH) outlet temperature profiles the pendants. Therefore, measuring FEGTs
an unplanned outage. against average, design, and alert values to and having adequate SH and RH tube metal
At one station, eight ETX PyrOptix fixed- understand the impact on tube life. thermocouples on the terminal tubes are es-
mount, infrared imaging systems (four per Measure work performed by each panel sential for operations feedback.
unit) are installed on the front walls. The (standard deviation from mean average) to Many of the previous recommendations ap-
ply to fireside corrosion and thermal fatigue
5. Temperature trends. This chart shows an individual tube circuit temperature trend mitigation. For example, optimizing boiler
with events over 1,032F logged. Courtesy: Duke Energy inputs, conducting real-time monitoring of
FEGT, ensuring thermocouple reliability, op-
Actual Alarm timizing combustion and heat transfer, vali-
dating furnace stoichiometry, and modeling
and optimizing coal blends are all important.
Air In-Leakage Control. Air in-leakage
Temperature (F)

on balanced draft boilers can be very prob-


lematic as the excess O2 analyzers cannot
distinguish post-combustion air filtration from
actual excess air. Furthermore, air in-leakage
bypassing the APH negatively influences X-
ratio (or the air-to-flue gas ratio impact). If not
managed, erosion, and leakage due to erosion,
can also result in unfavorable O2-rise curves.
APH leakage should be less than 10% on
Time regenerative air heaters. When the leakage in-

|
April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 45
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
Establishing a Combustion and
Table 2. Air in-leakage case study. The effects shown here resulted from 7% air in-
leakage. Courtesy: Duke Energy
Boiler Performance Management
System
Parameter Change Improving boiler reliability and performance
Base leakage % (upstream of the boiler O2 probes) 7% through variables that are operator control-
Heat rate penalty for boiler air in-leakage (Btus) +33 Btu/kWh lable demands a programmatic defense strat-
egy and systems that provide both qualitative
Potential increase in boiler tube corrosion 40-80 mils per year
*Varies with fuel (such as % sulfur, chlorine) and quantitative feedback. Modern instru-
mentation and processing power have proven
Slagging propensity and susceptibility of a clinker Increases with a lower stoichiometry that results with
fall; increases system resistance (limiting load and/or reducing atmospheres
capability for improvements on large utility
imbalanced gas flow rates exacerbating ash erosion) boilers. However, the controls and optimiza-
tion systems are contingent upon the accurate
Furnace exit gas temperature Increases beyond the ash fusion temperatures;
increases SH/RH spray flow rates feedback from the process instruments. Im-
proving reliability by detecting and rectifying
Fly ash loss on ignition quality Decreases impacting efficiency and/or becomes
unsalable failures before they occur is a worthy goal, but
it is only possible with validated, representa-
creases, the dilution of the flue gas results in a misaligned and/or combined with unprotected tive, and functional feedback from the process
depressed flue gasto-stack temperature. This tube circuits. instrumentation and plant assessments that are
is due to the dilution from cold combustion To mitigate erosion, coal quality should be people and performance driven.
air. Therefore, for boiler efficiency calcula- managed and the fuels effect on erosion and The mature fleet of coal-fired boilers
tions, the corrected to no-leakage temperature ash for a given heat input must be understood. throughout the U.S. is expected to endure its
needs to be utilized. If not completed prop- Sootblowers should be optimized, ensuring greatest risk in the coming years. Thus, newer
erly, these depressed flue gas temperatures steam is superheated or air (if used) is free and more intelligent prognostic assessments
from the convective pass or APH leakage can of moisture. Ensure sootblower condensate are warranted to help ensure safe, efficient,
suggest a false sense of good and efficient op- traps, associated thermocouples, and drains and event-free operations.
erations. Furthermore, air in-leakage can limit all work properly. Lastly, real-time flue gas Adequate boiler instrumentation required
fan capacity, increase auxiliary power, nega- monitoring with a representative grid of ther- for protection is especially critical for cold
tively affect the air pollution control equip- mocouples and pressure transmitters can be startups and minimum loads when a potential
ment, and result in acid dew point corrosion used to recognize changes in draft loss, tem- mismatch between the boilers steam and tube
issues. Furnace-to-stack leakage should be perature, and velocity. or header metal surfaces is more likely to oc-
periodically audited, managed, and reduced. Air Heater Fouling Mitigation and Air- cur. Furthermore, failure mitigation requires
Some actions to take include: Gas Management Improvements. The an understanding of the holistic impacts of
gas lanes in a large steam generator narrow operations including fuel quality, boiler per-
Monitoring and measuring combustion air- with the transition of radiant to convective formance, ramp rates, steam temperature con-
flow paths heat transfer components. System cleanliness trol, boiler component temperature control,
Periodically conducting air in-leakage as- affects the pressure drop and can increase as balance of plant equipment condition, turbine
sessments a result of slagging, fouling, and buildup of performance, environmental control impacts,
Verifying all dead air spaces are gas-tight ash residues. When that occurs, air in-leakage, and boiler flexibility provisions to better han-
Periodically conducting thermography heat transfer, the mal-distribution of flue gas, dle cyclic conditions, as required.
assessments on boiler casings to identify and fan capacity issues can be exacerbated. The thermal expansion of boilers relies
problematic areas This coupled with increased cycling and start- on adequate supports and expansion joints
ups with fuel oil firing increases the risk of to handle a significant amount of movement
Understanding the impacts of boiler air in- corrosion from SO2 in the flue gas through during startups and shutdowns. Thus, with cy-
leakage on stoichiometry and corrosion when acid condensation on heating surfaces, duct- cling, the greater number of startups yields a
it is upstream of the boiler outlet O2 probes is work, and structural supports. greater risk for rubbing, fretting, tearing, and
important. Table 2 shows an example of how Accurate instruments and effective control overheating of boiler metals that must be in-
just 7% air in-leakage can negatively affect ef- schemes can help mitigate fan capacity limi- spected more frequently and maintained to
ficiency, boiler stoichiometry, and reliability, tations and limit fly ash erosion. Ensure ther- ensure availability.
if it was sustained for a long duration. mocouples and pressure transmitters for the air Improved awareness for offline and online
Sootblower and Fly Ash Erosion Miti- and gas systems are working properly. Proper assessments demands a trained team and ad-
gation. Controlling the erosion rates to both air pressure, temperature, and flow control are equate diagnostics to mitigate boiler damage.
radiant and convective pass boiler sections is important for mill and burner optimization, When performed effectively, operators can be
essential. Outside of optimal combustion per- while proper gas measurement is key for evalu- less reactive and more proactive, averting the
formance, the application of optimal boiler ating changes in pressure drop and flow that initiation of events that negatively affect unit
cleaning and sootblower performance is one impact heat transfer and reliability. Utilize in- reliability. Creating action plans and align-
of the most effective ways to control heat strumentation to monitor ammonia slip, ammo- ing personnel with performance preservation
transfer and FEGT. In addition, boiler-clean- nium bisulfate, and/or dew point (condensable) goals are processes that require dynamic tools
ing systems are effective at combating prob- issues as a part of the performance preservation and optimal process controls, grounded in
lematic mineral ash constituents that induce plan. Finally, ensure cold end temperature con- sound engineering fundamentals.
slagging and fouling propensity. Neverthe- trol provisions are available as needed, such as Stephen K. Storm is combustion and
less, if not properly optimized, boiler-clean- steam coils and APH bypass. boiler performance program manager and
ing systems can result in boiler damage, if the Randel L. Kaupang is boilers/fuel prep
medium pressures are too high or nozzles are manager for Duke Energy.

46 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
IS YOUR POWER
FINAL REMINDER!

PROJECT A WINNER?
Find out by nominating it for a POWER award

The 2017 categories are:


Plant of the Year Award
Reinvention Award
(formerly Marmaduke Award)
Water Award
Smart Grid Award
Commercial & Industrial
Generation Award
Top Plants Awards (in gas, coal,
nuclear, and renewable subcategories)
COMMERCIAL &
INDUSTRIAL GENERATION

All nominated projects must be in commercial operation by


the nomination deadline of April 28, 2017. Youll ind award
information, lists of former winners, and nomination forms at
http://www.powermag.com/power-awards/

NOMINATION DEADLINE: APRIL 28, 2017

29171
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE

Strategies for Small


Hydro Upgrades

Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Small hydro is becoming big business as ongoing technological advances make


more small sites economic to exploit. Older plants can also see substantial output
and efficiency gains by upgrading from decades-old technology. Heres what you
need to know to help make small plants meaningful producers.
Thomas W. Overton, JD

S mall hydropower is getting big.


Around the world, even as tradi-
tional giant projects continue to get
builtespecially in developing countries
more and more attention is being directed
Europewhere opportunities for large hydro
projects are limited at best. Thats opened
up a market opportunity for small systems
that can be deployed much more rapidly
than larger ones. (For more on the topic, see
large (Figure 1).
According to Voith Hydros Jim Glunt, the
last decade has seen significant advances in
controls, monitoring, and supervisory control
and data acquisition technology. Operators
toward the possibilities of smaller systems. Small Hydro, Big Opportunity in the May are now better able to gather historical and
The driving forces have been concern about 2013 issue, A New Day for North American real-time data in order to maximize efficien-
the environmental impacts of huge dams; a Hydropower? in the October 2014 issue, cy or power on demand. Advances in opera-
shrinking number of suitable sites for major and Small Hydropower Advances and Chal- tor control and monitoring have also allowed
projects, particularly in Europe and North lenges in China in the January 2015 issue.) for more reliable and user-friendly interfaces.
America; and substantial technological ad- Refurbishing old turbines can also reap
vances that have made smaller and smaller New Tricks for Old Dogs big rewards, Glunt said.
sites economic to exploit. What exactly constitutes small hydropow- Typically, a customer who is rebuilding a
Hydropower in general is experiencing er depends on who you ask, but its gener- 50-year-old or older unit can expect around
something of a renaissance because of grow- ally considered projects under 30 MW or so. 10% improvement in efficiency. The wear on
ing demand for renewable energy. The rapid While lots of hydro projects of this size are the rotating components, wicket gate system,
growth of intermittent generation from wind being built on new sites, not all small hydro and bearing areas can be corrected to add ef-
and solar means dispatchable renewable plants are newmany are quite old, with ficiency and reliability, he said. Sometimes
generation from hydro is becoming more some still operating after a century or more. in dealing with a unit rebuild of this age, there
valuable. But much of this wind and solar Many of these projects now need substantial can be misalignment throughout the machine
development is taking place in areaslike upgrades. The good news is that opportuni- due to the tendency of the power house to
the central and southwestern U.S. and central ties for improving efficiency and output are move downstream. The slow movement over

48 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
rewind in order to fend off any potential fail-
1. New power generation. EVNs 2.7-MW Dorfmhle hydropower plant in Austria re-
ure in the winding.
placed a 120-year old plant on the same site in 2004, increasing overall output 10-fold. Courtesy:
Voith Hydro One benefit to upgrading a small project
versus a larger one is that the small size of the
equipment means modernized systems can
be modular or shop-assembled and delivered
to the site in one piece, which substantially
reduces construction time and complexity
(Figure 2). The newest small hydro technol-
ogy is also specifically designed to operate at
peak efficiency with low heads, which means
smaller units can be installed without reduc-
ing output or output can be increased with-
out expanding other elements of the plant.
Some decades-old small hydro plants have
been able to double or triple output (or even
more) by upgrading their turbine-generators,
gains that are less likely with larger projects.
Modern oil-free, permanent magnet turbines
are also more environmentally friendly than
older technology.

time is a condition that could cause increased used in the insulating systems. One large Automation and Controls
vibration and wear through the years. reason to improve the generator by rewind- In addition to improvements that are possible
Old generators also require attention even- ing the stator is to eliminate the asbestos that from upgrading turbines and generators, one
tually. may be present in a unit of such age, Glunt area sometimes overlooked is improvements
Generator components can be improved said. Given a typical unit of this vintage, in controls and automation. Just as operators
upon in many cases due to newer materials customers may want to seriously consider a of fossil plants have begun deploying ad-

Filling the Power Gap when Hydropower Falls Short


One of the challenges with small hydropower is greater sensitiv-
3. Backstops. Mobile power generation can help support op-
ity to fluctuations in rainfall, because small plants typically lack erations at a hydro plant when dry weather forces a shutdown or
large reservoirs where excess water can be stockpiled during wet cuts in output. This project supports a facility in Myanmar, which
periods. Seasonal weather variations are difficult to predict, but gets more than 70% of its electricity from hydro. Courtesy: Aggreko
detrimental weather affects capacity year after year in some re-
gions (see Drought Stresses Brazilian Electricity Market in the
November 2014 issue). Anticipating and mitigating the risk of
blackouts can be challenging, so a contingency plan should be in
place, such as having an on-site fleet of back-up generators or a
coordinated emergency power provision to minimize downtime.
Kenya, which gets more than half of its electricity from hydro-
power, has experienced repeated problems due to sporadic periods
of low rainfall. Aggreko first started working with the national
utility, KenGen, nearly 20 years ago after severe drought limited
its hydroelectric generation. Speed was key to reduce the impact lar power help to fill the gap, in this case it also creates the oppor-
that the Embakasi power stations reduced output had on the pop- tunity for the national utility to contribute to the Southern Africa
ulation and economy, and so it was vital the project was installed Power Pool and generate funds through international power trade.
and started to generate power within weeks rather than months. The flexibility of mobile power makes it a fitting partner
Myanmar faces similar challenges during its December to June throughout the lifecycle of a hydroelectric plant in addition to
dry season. With more than 70% of the countrys energy supply filling the gap during the dry season. This is particularly true
dependent on hydropower, this intermittency exposes its popula- during the planning and commissioning phases, where it helps
tion to serious power shortages. The national utility, Myanmar to ensure that the plant is operational and can be connected to
Electric Power Enterprise (MEPE), recently commissioned Aggreko the grid on schedule, and avoid any potential investment losses
to install interim gas-fired generation to support the national grid or financial penalties. It can also provide support during mainte-
during the summer months (Figure 3). nance outages, as well as black-start power when necessary, such
Similarly, parts of Zimbabwe are suffering power shortages that as during a grid failure.
have significantly restricted the countrys hydropower capabilities, Marcus Saul is renewables business development manager
following one the worst droughts in 35 years. Not only does modu- with Aggreko.

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April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 49
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
tomated.
2. Shallow dive. Voith Hydros modular StreamDiver turbine is designed specifically for
small hydro applications where heads and flows are ill suited for traditional hydropower tech-
While this can reduce staffing needs, there
nologies. Courtesy: Voith Hydro are many things that need to be considered
from an operations and maintenance stand-
point, Bob Baginski of Voith Hydros digital
solutions team said.
Its essential to monitor the mechanical
equipment in the plant more closely and have
a feedback loop with the remote control sys-
tems to detect wrong tendencies early and
prevent forced outages. Not only the ma-
chines themselves have to be monitored, but
also the plant auxiliary systems. For example
the status of the dewatering pump and the
HVAC system health can be crucial for reli-
able operation of the whole plant.
Safety is another issue with full automa-
tion, he noted.
Is it possible to still safely shut down the
vanced sensors and data science to improve put based on changes in local hydrology, an unit if the main closing device is jammed?
the operations of their boilers and gas tur- issue of special concern to smaller plants, What safety devices are in place in case of a
bines, manufacturers have begun offering which are more at the mercy of droughts than cooling water supply pipe rupture? Is auto-
similar solutions for their hydro customers. large ones (see sidebar) matic closure of valves implemented to pre-
Such systems allow operators to predict Such upgrades can reach across the plant. vent the plant from flooding? What is the safe
possible component failures and determine Moving from analog to digital metering and shut down concept in case AC power fails?
changes in operations that could extend com- governors and from electro-mechanical to These things and more have to be taken into
ponent life to allow repairs at the most advan- solid-state multifunction protection relays consideration.
tageous time. Another factor that advanced can reap dividends. But an increasing num- Thomas W. Overton, JD is a POWER
data science can help with is predicting out- ber of small hydro plants are being fully au- associate editor.

50 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE

Simplify Outage Planning to


Increase Collaboration

Courtesy: NRG

Many elaborate planning tools are available to help managers prepare for power
plant outages. However, there is something to be said for keeping things simple.
One modest tool that some NRG Energy facilities have utilized successfully is an
Excel spreadsheet with green and red color codes based on yes or no answers to
straightforward planning questions.
Larry Kofton

P
ower plant planned maintenance out- accountability to the individual stakeholders. hand off a task to operations or the sourcing
ages are very similar to each other team might only be consulted after a design
across the power industry. Because Share the Planning Workload is completed. That type of approach wont
power plants need to be reliable for the heavy The outage planning process has several cut it in todays world. Everything has to be
summer and winter electricity demand, due steps that can take months to complete. To simple, seamless, and intuitive from the start.
largely to consumers heating and cooling re- coordinate the steps, the process requires that As more departments gain involvement
quirements, maintenance outages are usually regular meetings be held with all of the key throughout the process, it becomes more ob-
completed during the spring and the fall. stakeholders in attendance. Often, the pro- vious who can support the various tasks for
The outage teams goal is to properly plan cess involves one person asking the status an upcoming outage. That added involve-
and execute outages so that plants can deploy of each preparation step while someone else ment could help reduce the outage planners
capital effectively to achieve superior value provides the updates. workload and increase knowledge transfer
during peak requirements. To help achieve This drumbeat-style meeting can hinder between individuals with different experi-
that goal, companies have myriad technology feedback and participation of team members ences, allowing better preparation.
choices to help with outage planning. There are supporting the outage, creating somewhat of Frequently, unexpected project participants
software applications that can produce complex a silo effect. When people operate in these share valuable lessons learned from other out-
models showing subtasks of subtasks, all with silos, you can find your outage just weeks ages. For example, it is not uncommon for
estimated timing and critical paths. away with several key steps still incomplete. safety, legal, or procurement staff (Figure 1)
Those tools are very useful during the To mitigate this, it is best to share the plan- on our team to provide risk input when one
actual outage, but the programs are often ning workload across multiple departments. plant is considering the services of a contrac-
intimidating to many of the project team Tom Puthiyamadam is a principal with tor that recently underperformed at a different
members and they can stifle collaboration PwC U.S., and in his article How to Build location. If no other options exist and the con-
during the planning process. Simplifying the a Connected Workforce, he suggested that tractor must still be selected for the job, the
outage planning process can help to more when people work in silos, different units and insight can help tailor terms and conditions to
easily share the planning workload, open up capabilities are pulled in at various points in minimize risk as much as possible.
the needed robust communications, and drive the process. For example, engineering might Another huge benefit of pulling knowl-

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April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 51
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE

1. Share the planning workload. To 2. Ask basic questions. To ensure progress is being made on planning tasks, yes or no
mitigate the risk of missing an action during answers could be all that is needed. Courtesy: NRG
the outage planning process, utilize resources
across multiple departments. Courtesy: NRG

edge from multiple departments is that the


work scopes used to engage contractors are
likely to be more thoroughly developed.
When scopes are better prepared and present-
ed early to contractors, they can put the best
team on the project and acquire the needed
resources in advance. Its important to keep
in mind that other power plants and manufac-
turing facilities may also be planning outag- In my experience, avoiding complex ma- Open Communications with
es, which could create a bandwidth problem trix charts and simply breaking large proj- Simple Visual Aids
for contactors. ects down into simple block diagrams that Just as mentioned above about complex tech-
Penny Font, editorial director for 10/12 In- everyone can understand has been successful nology, if conversations become too complex
dustry Report, wrote in the first quarter 2017 (Figure 2). Lets consider a lube oil change for many on the planning team, it could close
issue that some 7,000 additional craftsmen project, for example. Many experienced per- down the needed communications. Visual
might be needed to handle the demand for sonnel know all of the steps necessary to aids can be an effective tool for opening up
maintenance turnarounds in the first quarter complete the project, and most would likely communications. However, the outage plan-
of 2017. If true, the law of supply and demand have it listed on a planning schedule, such as ning team should remember that using too
could cause outage costs to increase. Not en- Alpha compressor lube oil change budgeted many elaborate features in visuals could be
gaging contractors early enough will almost for $100,000. counterproductive.
always cost your company money that could In reality, when the job is broken down Gates Matthew Stoner wrote in his article,
otherwise have been saved. This is a common into individual parts, the lube oil change Effectively Communicating with Visual
problem because the actual commitment is work task would have the following compo- Aids Made Simple, (available online at: bit.
not made between companies until an ac- nents: Determine the type of oil to be used, ly/GMS_paper) that a presentation with too
cepted purchase order is in place. More times determine how to dispose of the old oil, cre- many elaborate features, which serve as
than not, the purchase order is one of the last ate the work scope for the lube oil change powerful distractions, could decrease its ef-
actions in the planning process. When plan- out, solicit proposals from oil suppliers, et- fectiveness. In other words, technology can
ning is done well, the commitments can be cetera. Also, by breaking down large projects be intimidating to those unfamiliar with it
made in advance and companies can choose into stand-alone work tasks, key players can and this can reduce outage-planning collabo-
the best contractor at the best price. easily understand their portion of the work. ration. Best-in-class companies will discover
Even when companies are successful in In one situation, for example, it came to ways to work more effectively and more col-
breaking down silos and obtaining more par- light that a contractor, engaged to perform laboratively by adopting information-sharing
ticipation, many may still struggle to unleash boiler tube work, had not had its labor rates practices to streamline communication.
a planning teams full potential because of the reviewed or vetted in two years. This type of Too often, organizations dont deploy tech-
complicated technology and difficult planning discovery would not be possible without the nology innovations in a way that captures
tools that are in use. To open up communica- needed, open communications throughout business value, says Puthiyamadam with PwC
tions and increase success, simpler and more the planning process. U.S. He adds that some companies still see
familiar tools may be the best choice. employees using email and a note-taking ap-

3. Simple visuals lead to answers. Using simple, familiar tools, like Microsoft Excel, to create a red/green traffic-light-style tracking
sheet makes incomplete items highly visible. Courtesy: NRG
Station #1 3/27/2017 4/28/2017

52 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
plication, instead of more costly systems that quires us to focus on safety for ourselves, our credible results. For example, in one region,
may have been implemented. Many times colleagues, and our families. It also asks that the improved supplier engagement obtained
an outage planning team may end up spend- we foster a culture of continuous improve- through the tracker tool has increased cost
ing large amounts of energy focusing on all ment by working and living safer every day avoidance savings from $2.1 million in 2015
the inputs that sophisticated systems require, of the year. We believe we are all in this to- to $5.2 million in 2016. It is this type of out-
when simple visuals could be all that is needed gether on one teamTeam NRG. come that helps us continue to make progress
to get communication started. In most cases, Part of the continuous improvement pro- on our vision and mission to create a sustain-
reducing the planned projects requirements cess is to simplify, prioritize, and streamline able energy future by safely providing reli-
down to the most basic yes or no questions is information for better outcomes. Coupling able, cleaner power that enhances peoples
all that is needed to obtain a progress report ideas, such as a simpler outage planning lives and delivers value to our stakeholders.
about a required task. tracker tool, with a deeply passionate team Larry Kofton is plant supply chain
Simple visual tools and feedback systems of experienced professionals has led to in- manager for NRG Energy Inc.
will increase productivity hands down. A
perfect example of this is how video games

Hawkeye Videoscopes
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Taking the yes-or-no type questions men-
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ple green or red light progress tracker, using
an application such as Microsoft Excel, can
mimic highly visible feedback much like a
video game (Figure 3). This type of system
may help people prioritize actions, because it
provides a clear view of the items that have
(in green) and have not (in red) been com-
pleted. When participants can clearly see the
requirements, their buy-in is much easier
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until they do so. This should ensure full at- controls provide photo and video capture at the touch
tention up front when the outage planning of a button! V2s have a wide, 4-way articulation
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|
April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 53
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE

The Oft-Neglected Isolated Phase


Bus Deserves Your Attention

Courtesy: SE Energy

A power plants isolated phase bus is generally reliable, and therefore, maintenance
is frequently overlooked. However, the system is too important to neglect. Assess-
ing its condition during minor outages allows needed repairs to be scheduled dur-
ing more extensive downtime, saving money and avoiding catastrophic failure.
Cal Crader, PE

P
reventative maintenance and essential problem during an emergency, unplanned
1. Out of sight, out of mind. Inspect-
system upgrades for the isolated phase outage. ing components, such as the isolated phase
bus should be a critical part of a power bus termination at the generator shown here,
generating stations planned outage schedule. The Vital Isolated Phase Bus can help ensure reliable operation over the
However, not all operators give it the atten- A critical system that is often overlooked long-term. Courtesy: SE Energy
tion it deserves, leading to an increased risk during planned outages is the isolated phase
of unnecessary, unplanned outages. bus. Operators tend to believe that because
Taking full advantage of a planned out- this system is covered, it does not require the
age at a power generating plant is a critical same amount of care as other critical sys-
component to both maximizing up time and tems. However, with all that is being invested
avoiding costly surprises. Planned outages in properly maintaining the generator, an iso-
differ from plant to plant, but generally, a lated phase bus failure can essentially negate
plant tends to have major outages once ev- that effort.
ery two to four years to upgrade equipment. One reason for this negligence is that the
These outages often revolve around a mainte- bus system does not really have any moving
nance schedule for the turbine generators or parts like a generator does (Figure 1). How-
the boiler. ever, maintenance is just as important and
Between planning for the outage, equip- failure can be just as damaging (Figure 2).
ment and labor costs during the outage, and Emergency repairs on an isolated phase bus
the amount of production time lost due to system will often cost up to five times more
the outage, these are very costly events that than repairs done during a planned outage.
need to be meticulously coordinated. Opera- In days gone by, power plants had more
tors do not want to miss the opportunity to frequent planned outages on a more regular
upgrade or fix a specific piece of equipment basis. Under that scenario, maintenance on
during a planned outage, only to discover the isolated phase bus was easier. There was
their mistake later and be forced to fix the more time to dedicate toward making sure

54 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
lated phase bus will help to ensure that your
2. Signs of a problem. The isolated 4. Experts can recognize prob-
bus runs efficiently (Figure 3).
phase bus shown here was contaminated lems. The laminates shown here were in
with oilinside and outfrom a generator need of replacement, which was identified
leak. Courtesy: SE Energy Assessing and Planning during a thorough inspection. Courtesy: SE
The inspection and planning for maintenance Energy
on a power plants isolated phase bus should
take place months before a major outage, if
at all possible, so that proper work and up-
grades can be performed during this extended
period of time. During a smaller outage, it is
important to do an assessment of what criti-
cal components need to be fixed or replaced.
During the assessment, there are several
areas of the isolated phase bus that can and
should be checked and conditions document-
ed. A thorough inspection by a qualified and
knowledgeable isolated phase bus specialist
should provide a well-documented report of
3. Inspections are important. These your systems status, areas where repairs are
flexible braids were in need of replacement needed, and as-found and as-left conditions, done, complete with cost estimates and time
due to degraded contact surfaces. Courtesy: including any repairs or material replace- requirements. That way, during the large,
SE Energy ments that were performed in conjunction planned outage, maintenance work can be
with the inspection. performed effectively and efficiently.
Bolted joints should be checked to ensure
that the correct hardware is present and prop- Major Outage Repairs
erly torqued. The contact surface integrity After all of the assessments are completed
should be looked at, and the plating condition and recommendations are made during a mi-
and the flexible connectors checked. During nor outage, the repair and retrofit work can
this time, the insulators can be inspected be planned for and carried out during a major
for dirt build-up and any damage that may outage. By assessing and making estimates
have occurred, including cracks or chips. months in advance, a maintenance team has
Additionally, the seal-off bushings should the elements necessary to ensure that the iso-
be checked to ensure a proper seal is active. lated phase bus will be running at an optimal
Hardware covers should be removed and ar- level when the power plant is brought back
eas checked for water entry, air leaks, and hot online.
spots. Gaskets should be verified for proper These major overhauls can include re-
everything was operating smoothly. How- functionality. placement of laminates (Figure 4), insula-
ever, recently many plants have decided During the assessment and planning tors, expansion joints, and rubber bellows.
to extend the time between major planned phase, ground cables and connections should All of these components have lead times, and
outages. Many now have smaller outages be observed to ensure proper grounding is there will be expediting fees if not ordered in
once a year, during which planning is done being achieved. The filter drains should be advance. When a plan is set months before
for work that needs to be completed during assessed in the isolated phase bus for wa- the outage, maintenance teams can be confi-
a major outage. Often, those major out- ter build-up and clogs. Temperatures of the dent in their preparation and ensure they have
ages are only being conducted every three enclosure/conductor and the support steel all of the supplies they need to perform ef-
years or even less often. In order to make should be monitored. Excessive heating of fective work. Additionally, during the major
sure that the isolated phase bus is properly the support steel can lead to an impending outage, any necessary welding can take place
maintained during a big outage, planning on catastrophic failure. Finally, elements of the along with silver plating.
the work that needs to be done should take force-cooled system should be inspected. Most importantly, it is critical that opera-
place during a smaller outage about a year These elements include the fan, fan motor tors have certified experts on the team that
prior. drive, dampers, cooling coils, water connec- does both the assessment/inspections dur-
Isolated phase bus system failure can tions, deionizers, drains, instruments, and the ing the smaller outage and the major repairs
come in many different forms. Additionally, disconnect switch. during the larger one. Knowledge and expe-
the conditions that often cause the failures During the minor outage, certain pre- rience are keys in providing accurate assess-
are ones that can be particularly difficult to ventative maintenance tasks should be per- ments and necessary repairs to an isolated
work under, such as localized overheating. formed to ensure the isolated phase bus is in phase bus system. These bus systems are
Other causes can include condensation, dirt, optimal condition. The bolted covers should heavily relied upon to be operational and
improper grounding, cracked weld joints, be removed to gain access at the termination keep the power plant online. With the costs
poor insulation, and water intrusion (see Fa- enclosures. All of the insulators should be associated with repairs and unplanned shut-
cilitating Predictive Maintenance of Electri- hand cleaned, and the enclosure should have downs, being able to count on the isolated
cal Assets with Pervasive Sensing Strategies the debris vacuumed from it. phase bus is critical.
in this issue of POWER for more on condi- After assessing which elements of the iso- Cal Crader, PE is the CEO of SE Energy
tion-based monitoring of electrical systems). lated phase bus need attention, it is impor- LLC, a specialty electrical construction,
Conducting a thorough inspection of the iso- tant to plan out everything that needs to be engineering, and consulting firm.

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April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 55
CYBERSECURITY
Cybersecurity: Keeping Current on
a Moving Target
What it means to have a secure energy generating facility has changed in re-
cent years as the threat of cyberattacks grows. As the nations energy sec-
tor becomes increasingly interconnected, it is more important now than
ever to safeguard power plants from cybersecurity threats such as hack-
ing, malware, and viruses.
Abby L. Harvey

T
he benefits of implementing an Internet 1. The secure plant. Successfully securing a power plant from cyberattack requires sev-
of Things (IoT) strategy at a power eral levels of protection. Source: POWER/Sonal Patel
plant are clear, but the stark reality
of this day and age is that doing so opens
many doors for cyber attackers. IoT at a
power plant can increase the efficiency of
the plants operations, pinpoint maintenance
needs earlier than has ever been possible,
and help avoid costly operational failures.
However, with every new connection made
in a connected plant, a new vulnerability is
created.
The trick to having the best of both
worldsa secure and connected plantis
implementing a robust cybersecurity strat-
egy that can identify vulnerabilities as they
pop up, close them, and alert the user to any
breaches of the systems perimeter.

The Basics of a Secure Plant


With new threats cropping up every day, it is
debatable if a power plant can ever truly be
secure. A plant that is impervious one day
can be the target of an unheard of threat the
next. We have kind of a failure of imagina-
tion sometimes, about what those new threat
vectors could be, Susan Peterson Sturm, di- Stanford noted three key factors that can track any operational changes within the
rector of product marketing and strategy at must be present in a cybersecurity strategy plant, alerting them to any potential breach-
Honeywell Industrial Cyber Security, said. (Figure 1). First, he said, there must be a es. You want to have the ability to monitor
Securing a plant is not a process with focus on identifying threats and vulner- your environment and detect changes in real
an end point, Peterson Sturm suggested, abilities. Theres a lot of concern about the time and respond to them, he said.
but an ongoing effort to stay abreast of an threat actors and their motivations and how
ever-changing threat. Its a misnomer to vulnerable the IT environment is, he said. The Least You Could Do
say there is a secure plant. I think its to- The approach [to addressing that is] doing There is a minimum amount of effort that can
tally cool for somebody to say we have ap- vulnerability scanning, identifying those, be put into a cybersecurity strategy. Threats
proached this with security by design, we and then putting remediations in place. from outside actors abound, and doing noth-
have implemented these security controls, The second must-have for a secure plant, ing is no longer an option.
she said. Stanford said, is robust perimeter protec- In the past, that baseline was air-gapping.
Jon Stanford, Americas leader for IoT tion. Even though firewalls and intrusion Air-gapping is essentially protecting assets
services and advanced services, and global protection are not enoughtheyre table by keeping them entirely disconnected from
practice lead for industrial securities with sticks really todayyou have to do them. the outside world. While that sounds like a
Cisco Advanced Services, disagrees slight- So do very robust separation between the valid means to halt any external cyberthreats,
ly, saying that a plant can be truly secure plant environment and anything external, in 2017 there are a few problems with that
if the security is addressed one, fundamen- he said. system. First, air-gapping only protects
tally, and two, with the operational realities Finally, according to Stanford, an opera- against external threats. Unfortunately, thats
of that plant in mind. tor must develop a baseline by which they not enough. Its erroneous, basically, to only

56 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
CYBERSECURITY
think about outsider in types of threats. We
2. Establishing a baseline. Cybersecurity experts must first establish a baseline of
really need to think about insider threats, in-
plant operations, which they can then use to monitor any anomalies using products such as
tentional or otherwise, Peterson Sturm said. Honeywells Risk Manager. Courtesy: Honeywell
Second, the practice of air-gapping is
based on a concept that is no longer com-
patible with the realities of where business
is headed. What weve found is basically
about 10 years ago customers started net-
working their equipment, so that notion of
an air gap is like a unicorn, it just doesnt
exist anymore, Peterson Sturm said.
Let me state something thats sort of
a fundamental truth, historically if you go
back decades these power plants were truly
air gapped, Stanford agreed. Over time
thats changed, just in the natural course
of operation, just as a natural result of how
power operators have changed procedures
and as the technology that they use on a dai-
ly basis has evolved There are very few
instances of truly air-gapped environments.
There is some level of connectivity.
More feasible, though still likely not
enough to keep a plant safe, is the installa-
tion of firewalls. Firewalls are a necessity
at any plant, though installing them presents
its difficulties. Due to the way that power a truly secure plant. what protocol its using, which ports and ser-
plants are built, simply as a reality of the To add to this confusion, the equipment vices are open, the level of patching, and then
industry, a plant will have a large variety of in use at any given plant is not only going any type of antivirus etcetera, she said.
equipment from a number of different ven- to vary in brand, but also in age. Control Once a baseline security level has been
dors, each with its own system and its own systems that have been around for more than established, it is time to think like a criminal
firewall. ten years werent designed with cybersecu- (Figure 3). Honeywell employs a cyberse-
For a lot of customers, they have to go to rity in mind, Peterson Sturm said, explain- curity researcher who works to get into the
each individual ICS (Industrial Control Sys- ing that different pieces of equipment in the mind of a hacker, identifying how they might
tem) provider and buy their security widget, same plant can have very different levels of go about attacking a plant. I mentioned
which is another huge pain in the neck, built-in security. the failure of imagination, Peterson Sturm
Peterson Sturm said. So, not only do they said, [We have] someone who can think
have to know how to operate that suppliers Avoiding and Halting Attacks about well, whats the next possible type of
industrial control system and maintain ex- The first step to developing an effective cy- threat?
pertise and training, having operators who bersecurity strategy is identifying a plants Cisco focuses less on trying to iden-
know how to use that system, but [they must vulnerabilities and understanding how a bad tify new threats, and more on ensuring that
also do that] on the security side. actor might take advantage of those weak should a hacker make it past the robust pe-
On the other hand, Stanford said, while spots. Both Stanford and Peterson Sturm rec- rimeter defense put in place, they are still un-
having multiple systems with multiple secu- ommend undergoing an assessment to better able to cause significant damage to the plant.
rity processes may be bulky for the operator, understand the operation of the plants opera- You want to have the ability to monitor your
such a setup is also bulky for potential cyber tions. environment and detect changes in real time
attackers. From the security perspective, Our first step is really to go in and do an and respond to them. The most effective type
arguably a lack of homogeneity could be a assessment, and that will include people, pro- of solution to address that embodies threat
form of protection. There are some who feel cess, and technologies, Peterson Sturm said intelligence within it, Stanford said.
like that makes a less-exploitable environ- of Honeywells process (Figure 2). This as- The security products and services of-
ment, he said. If you have all Windows sessment, Peterson Sturm explained, includes fered by Cisco have threat intelligence and
computers, and if I can exploit Windows, interviewing employees to understand what machine learning embedded within, ac-
then I can exploit your entire environment. they do and how they do it. This helps to iden- cording to Stanford, They can watch these
So, if I have malware its a simple matter tify any potential impacts that day-to-day op- environments to make sure these critical
of me, just like a disease, I can just quickly erations can have on the security of the plant. processes dont change from their autho-
propagate that through your environment ... Honeywell then does a review of company rized patterns, he said. Thats really where
But, if you have, say, five different kinds policies and procedures that could help to re- the biggest bang for the buck comes in.
of operating systems in place, and I exploit inforce the companys security.
Windows then Im not going to affect the Finally, an evaluation of all plant technol- The Enemy Within
other four types you have. ogy is completed. It is kind of going through Whether they mean to be or not, a plants
While such a setup may help, Stanford the facility and getting a baseline of the elec- operators can be one of its greatest vulner-
specified, thats not necessarily a good strat- tronic devices, basically any type of embed- abilities. The Stuxnet, the cyberattack that
egy in and of itself, more is needed to have ded control device, what software is on there, caused significant damage to Irans nuclear

|
April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 57
CYBERSECURITY
that they use on a daily basis, Stanford
3. Keeping up. In the cybersecurity realm, there is always a new danger lurking. At Honey- said. This would include portable media,
wells Industrial Cyber Security Lab, cybersecurity researchers work to identify new threats and
develop solutions. Courtesy: Honeywell
like the USB drives and computers, typi-
cally laptops, that they use to support the
equipment that operates the power plant.
According to a 2015 study conducted by
tech association CompTIA, roughly 17% of
employees will pick up and use a discarded
USB drive. CompTIA littered USB drives
in high-traffic public areas. The USBs were
programmed with text files, which instruct-
ed anybody who plugged them in to send an
email message to a listed address or click
on a trackable link. The results of the study
claim that some of the people who clicked
on the link or sent an email were employed
in the IT industry. As the findings show,
even the most IT literate end users can make
precarious decisions when faced with poten-
tially suspicious technology, demonstrating
how challenging it can be to instill strong
cybersecurity habits (not merely knowl-
edge), the study says.
Unfortunately, at this point, there may
not be much to do to ensure that employees
arent accidentally carrying malware into a
4. Hidden risks. Cybersecurity risks can be present in the most mundane places. Recent facility. We talk about people, process, and
studies have shown that nearly 20% of people will use USB drives picked up in public places, technology. Training, making people aware,
potentially opening the door for bad actors. Source: POWER/Abby L. Harvey Peterson Sturm said. There are tons and tons
[of] statistics about the number of people
who will click on a phishing email, so thats
a big thing on an awareness level.
In the future, it may be easier to protect
a facility from the dangers of an infected
USB. We dont have a good way right now
to really secure the used USB, so thats one
area where Honeywell is doing some more
[research]. We see a significant need around
that, and were doing some product develop-
ment in that area. Policy, corporate policy,
and training alone just cant do it.
Should an employee ignore their training,
monitoring is the last defense against an ac-
cidental cybersecurity breach. We have a
set of capabilitieswe have solutions that
we can put in placethat will watch for
and detect anomalies within these environ-
ments, Stanford said.
Of course, there is also the possibility of
a malicious insider attack. Luckily, Stanford
said, The number of incidents of malicious
insider behavior [suggests it] is quite rare.
program in 2009, for example, was housed uranium gas at Irans Natanz Nuclear Fa- Every power plant has vulnerabilities; no
on USB drives. According to reviews of the cility starting failing. The virus made its plant is impervious to attack. The world of
virus, attackers first infected the computers way into the facility in July 2009, and cen- cybersecurity is constantly evolving as new
of five companies with ties to the nuclear trifuges quickly started failing. By August, attacks are designed every day. Keeping a
program. Employees of these companies 328 centrifuges had fallen. By November, plant as secure as possible is a constant strug-
then unknowingly spread the virus to Irans another 656 were failing. gle that requires constant attention. However,
nuclear facilities on USB drives they did not The biggest threat vector actually is the potential costs of a cyberattack, both to
know were infected (Figure 4). through malware thats hand carried into the the plant operator and the customers they
Stuxnet didnt just wreak havoc on com- environment in terms of the employees or serve, far outweigh the costs of implement-
puters but caused physical damage. After their authorized vendors or contractors be- ing a robust cybersecurity strategy.
being infected, centrifuges used to enrich ing a threat. A huge concern is the devices Abby L. Harvey is a POWER reporter.

58 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
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NUCLEAR
U.S. Nuclear: From Hope to Despair
A decade ago, the annual Platts nuclear energy conference in Washington was
brimming with optimism over a coming nuclear renaissance, as licens-
ing requests poured into the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and compa-
nies announced ambitious plans for new nuclear construction. Ten years
later, the not-so-under-the-surface theme of the conference was nuclear
survival.
Kennedy Maize

The question is survival, former En- close in the fall of 2018. Pilgrim on Cape of natural gas, which provided cheap fuel
tergy nuclear executive Bill Mohl told Cod will close in the fall of 2019. The two for power plants and drove market prices
attendees at the annual Platts nuclear Indian Point units on the Hudson River 35 down. Long-running federal tax subsidies
energy conference in Washington, D.C., in miles north of New York City will shut down for renewables, particularly wind, have
early February. Mohl, who led Entergys in 2020 and 2021. Its a sad state of affairs for also hampered the ability of nuclear to
merchant power business and retired Feb- the company and the industry. compete.
ruary 28, went on to explain that Entergys Low demand growth. Wholesale mar-
long-term strategy of buying up single-unit Nuclear on the Brink ket prices have reflected the fact that the
nuclear plants at bargain-basement prices The U.S. has seen nine GW of nuclear plant great recession and increasing end-use
and bidding them into the regional transmis- closures announced over the past few years, energy efficiency have slowed growth
sion operator (RTO) and independent system nearly 10% of national nuclear generat- in demand for electricity, pushing prices
operator (ISO) competitive wholesale mar- ing capacity. Mohl (Figure 2) noted that it lower. The reduced demand growth seems
kets was a miserable failure. would have been worse if Exelon, the na- baked into the U.S. market.
It seemed like a really good idea at the tions largest nuclear generator, had not been Flawed market design. The nuclear in-
outset, but a combination of factors under- able to save two Illinois facilities (Quad Cit- dustry argues that the technologys car-
cut the strategy, and Entergy is now exiting ies and Clinton) and four upstate New York bon-free nature does not get any value in
merchant nuclear power in as big a way as it units (FitzPatrick, Ginna, and two Nine Mile competitive markets.
entered. Vermont Yankee is shuttered. It has Point reactors). All were rescued by state-or- Increased operating costs. Post-9/11 se-
agreed to sell FitzPatrick (Figure 1) in New chestrated bailouts designed to assign a value curity measures and Nuclear Regulatory
York to Exelon. Palisades in Michigan will to the avoided carbon dioxide emissions from Commission orders in the wake of the
the plants. 2011 Fukushima disaster have driven
1. Rescued. Entergy Corp. planned to re- Independent generators are challenging costs higher. Exelons Chris Mudrick said
tire the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear plant in the Illinois and New York subsidies for the his company now employs more security
Scriba, N.Y., this year, but Exelon Corp. agreed
nuclear units in court and at the Federal Ener- personnel at its nuclear sites than plant
to buy the unit and keep it open after New
York approved subsidies for upstate nuclear
gy Regulatory Commission. They argue that operators. He said Exelon has a goal of
plants. Courtesy: Entergy Corp. the state plans distort the competitive whole- reducing the cost of its nuclear generation
sale auctions. Those challenges could upset by 30%, but he and Mohl agreed that cost
the Illinois and New York plans to save the reductions wont solve nuclears problems
nuclear units in competitive markets. in competitive markets. You cant save
In January, the independent market moni- yourself to prosperity, said Mohl.
tor for the PJM Interconnection, the largest
of the competitive markets, said in a fed- The current nuclear carnage looks likely
eral court filing that the New York program to continue. A January report from the Na-
is unlawful as it discriminates against other tional Conference of State Legislatures not-
fuelsnatural gas and coal. The nuclear sub- ed, Since 2013, six nuclear reactors in the
sidies, said the filing, will result in keeping United States have permanently closed, an-
noneconomic plants in the NYISO market other 12 reactors have been scheduled to shut
despite market signals to retire. down, and operators at several more plants
What accounts for the inability of nuclear have warned of other possible reactor clo-
to compete in wholesale markets? Several sures in the coming years.
speakers at the Platts conference agreed on Environmental Progress, a pro-nuclear
the fundamental problems. They include: group, recently released an analysis conclud-
ing that a quarter to two-thirds of operating
Low wholesale prices. Hydraulic fractur- U.S. nuclear plants could face premature
ing technology arrived about a decade closure. The Environmental Progress analy-
ago, producing astonishing new supplies sis counts 35 GW of nuclear capacity as at

60 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
NUCLEAR
she said. So the nuclear reactors of the fu-
2. Merchant power leader. Bill Mohl 3. Promoting nuclear power. Maria
served as president of Entergy Wholesale Com- Korsnick became CEO of the Nuclear Energy
ture will accommodate that reality. Some will
modities, with responsibility for the companys Institute, following the retirement of Marvin make electricity around the clock. Others will
merchant power business. He spoke in Febru- Fertel. Courtesy: Nuclear Energy Institute produce electricity when its needed, then
ary at the Platts nuclear energy conference in produce other products when it is not. Some
Washington, D.C. Courtesy: Entergy Corp. will supply the transportation market. Nuclear
electricity will charge batteries and nuclear
process heat will make alternative fuels. Some
reactors will make fresh water. Some will
drive industrial production. Some reactors
might even produce energy from todays used
fuel, reducing the disposal burden.
But the immediate objective, Korsnick
said, is preserving the existing nuclear plants.
We are reaching a tipping point as policy-
makers have come to appreciate the risk of
losing nuclear plants. However, I believe the
tide is turning. The federal government, the
regional transmission organizations and the
states now recognize the problem, and are
moving to reform the competitive markets
where the greatest threats exist. Little evi-
dence exists to support that optimism.
about 40% of the U.S. population. NEI itself has gotten a haircut of sorts. Nu-
triple risk because they are in deregu- Even in these regulatory-friendly environs, cleonics Week, a Platts publication, reported
lated markets, uneconomical (according to little real enthusiasm for new nuclear plants in late January that NEI has cut its staff by
Bloomberg New Energy Finance) and up for exists. Thats driven by the cost overruns and 13%, or 16 jobs, including the departure of
relicensing before the end of 2030. Which delays that the nuclear projects in Georgia high-ranking staffers. The newsletter quoted
plants are in greatest jeopardy of early clo- and South Carolina have experienced. an unidentified nuclear industry official who
sure? The answer, according to the group, is No utility in its right mind is going to reportedly said, NEI hasnt just downsized
D.C. Cook in Michigan; Seabrook in New build a new plant, a southern utility execu- and cut costs, but replaced all of the leader-
Hampshire; Millstone in Connecticut; and tive told POWER on condition of anonymity ship positions, which adds up to member dis-
Davis-Besse in Ohio. at the Platts meeting. Its a bet-the-compa- satisfaction with the way NEI was operating.
ny proposition and the odds arent positive If its a primary job to defend the current fleet
Regulated Markets Are the Life- enough, even with construction-work-in- and they continue to close, then [NEI] is not
blood progress policies. Some may talk the talk. doing its job.
The only bright spot for nuclear is in south- Nobody is going to walk the walk. Among the NEI departures were Alex
ern states where traditional, state-regulated Flint, the groups veteran top lobbyist; Scott
cost-of-service regimes continue to govern Nuclear Lobby Shakeup Peterson, senior vice president for communi-
how nuclear plants make money. In contrast The current industry woes are reflected in cations; and Steve Kerekes, long-time head of
to its merchant nuclear fleet, Entergys two its Washington lobbying group, the Nuclear media relations. The lobbying group brought
Arkansas Nuclear One units, the Grand Gulf Energy Institute (NEI). The same day as the in some new blood. Neal Cohen from APCO
plant in Mississippi, and River Bend and Wa- Platts conference began in Washington, new Worldwide was made top lobbyist and strate-
terford 3 in Louisiana are doing well. NEI CEO Maria Korsnick (Figure 3) was gist, and John Kotekformer Department of
The only new U.S. plants under construc- briefing Wall Street analysts in New York. Energy (DOE) acting assistant secretary for
tion are two units in Georgia and two in Although Korsnick, an Exelon veteran who nuclear energywill now run communica-
South Carolina. Both states have regulations replaced retired CEO Marvin Fertel January tions and policy development.
that allow the utilities building the plants to 1, put on a brave face, she had to acknowl- While NEIs traditional focus has been on
recover their costs of construction (and earn a edge that existing plants are in jeopardy. federal affairs, thats not a promising agenda
profit) while the plants are being built. State- The grid of the future will include a grow- today. Wholesale market structure belongs to
regulated wholesale and retail markets serve ing role for intermittent renewable energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
(FERC), which is unable to take up big is-
sues with only two of five commission seats
No utility in its right mind is going to filled (both with Democrats). Getting FERC
operational on big-picture items will take
build a new plant ... Its a bet-the-company some time, and there is no certainty the com-
mission will be willing to meet the nuclear
proposition and the odds arent positive industrys vision for the future. To meet the
enough, even with construction-work-in- desires of nuclear generators, FERC would
have to overturn the restructured wholesale
progress policies. markets it created 20 years ago, and they ap-
pear to be functioning as designed.
A southern utility executive on condition of anonymity As this story goes into production in early

|
April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 61
NUCLEAR
March, the DOE does not have a complete
leadership team in place. Former Texas Gov.
Rick Perry was confirmed as energy secre- New York and Illinois serve as examples
tary on March 2, despite his previous posi-
tion in favor of abolishing the agency, but
to other states that effective solutions are
he still has to fill many leadership positions, possible, even in competitive markets.
which can take time. But the DOE doesnt re-
ally have much to do with promoting nuclear
Maria Korsnick, Nuclear Energy Institute CEO
power, other than supporting research and
development. bill through the legislature and win the gov- long-term answer. Somebody has to make
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission ernors signature. it a priority at the federal level, said Mohl,
(NRC) can make life easier for the nukes, but New York was easier, Fein said. Powerful advocating a nationwide carbon tax, suggest-
only at the margins. The industrys problems Gov. Andrew Cuomo was able to take a regu- ing a $17/ton initial price, readjusted every
are more economic than regulatory. The NRC latory path to the nuclear rescue. His control two years. If the fedsmeaning Congress
has few tools to deal with the economic im- of the state public service commission eased and the Trump administrationcant come
pediments to nuclear in wholesale markets. the way to a compromise satisfactory to most up with a national solution, said Mohl, it
of the interests in the state, although not to will be relegated to the states and that canni-
Subsidies Offer a Lifeline the nonutility generators. It didnt require balizes the competitive markets, an entirely
The industry has had some success at the state legislation. undesirable outcome.
state level however. Both the Illinois and New Fein noted that efforts are underway in The day before the Platts nuclear con-
York bailouts were major wins for Exelon. Connecticut and Pennsylvania to rescue ference, a group of establishment Republi-
NEI also led a 2016 repeal of a 33-year-old threatened nuclear plants. In Connecticut, the cansincluding James Baker and George
Wisconsin law banning new nuclear power task is to protect the two awkwardly-named Shultz, former secretaries of state; Henry
plants in the state, as Christine Csizmadia Millstone units in the ISO New England Paulson, former treasury secretary; and Mar-
described at the Platts conference. Even so, competitive market. That will take legisla- tin Feldstein and Gregory Mankiw, former
there is no evidence of any serious interest tive action. The UtilityDive website reported White House economic advisorsrolled out
in actually building a new nuclear plant in in mid-February, The legislation, yet to be a paper advocating a nationwide tax on car-
Wisconsin. fully drafted, now only indicates it would bon dioxide emissions. They dubbed it, The
NEIs Korsnick told Wall Street analysts, provide a mechanism for zero-carbon gener- Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends.
New York and Illinois serve as examples to ating facilities to sell power to electric utili- They unveiled it in a New York Times op-ed
other states that effective solutions are pos- ties. The Millstone plant, like other nuclear column. The tax would be coupled with a
sible, even in competitive markets. The nu- facilities in organized markets, is challenged rollback of the Obama administrations Envi-
clear industry is sharpening the focus of its by competition from cheap natural gas gen- ronmental Protection Agency (EPA) regula-
advocacy efforts in other states where major eration. tions on power plant CO2 emissions.
policy opportunities exist. In Pennsylvania, where Ohio-based First- The tax would start at a suggested $40/
Exelons David Fein told the Platts meet- Energy is trying to exit the merchant market ton and escalate over time. The paper argues,
ing about the Illinois and New York plant entirely, its two-unit Beaver Valley station in Mounting evidence of climate change is
rescues. In Illinois, the more difficult case, historic Shippingport, Pa., is at risk, as is its growing too strong to ignore. While the ex-
a Republican governor and a Democratic Ohio Perry plant. All are bidders into the PJM tent to which climate change is due to man-
legislature were at war. Three years in, the Interconnection. Exelons Fein said develop- made causes can be questioned, the risks
state still does not have an approved budget. ments in Pennsylvania are currently on hold. associated with future warming are too big
Exelon had to work with supporters, includ- and should be hedged. At least we need an
ing unions representing plant workers, on an Is a Carbon Tax the Remedy? insurance policy.
overall rescue package that included some- But state bailout programs, Exelons Mu- The GOP graybeards plan would require
thing for almost every stakeholder, to move a drick and Entergys Mohl agreed, arent the major congressional legislation, perhaps in-
cluding a rewrite of the Clean Air Acts 1990
4. Low-carbon Illinois. Hundreds of nuclear power proponents rallied at the Illinois state amendments. Thats a real stretch.
Capitol in support of the states low-carbon portfolio standard. Courtesy: Exelon Generation
Trump is deeply skeptical of global
warming science. Republicans have a tra-
ditional aversion to anything labeled a tax.
Mainstream environmental groups are likely
to raise opposition to a rollback of EPA regu-
lations. David Doniger, long-time head of
climate programs for the Natural Resources
Defense Council, promptly responded to the
establishment GOP proposal, praising the
effort but saying, The atmosphere needs a
guarantee, and thats why we need firm car-
bon pollution limits in addition to carbon
prices.
Kennedy Maize is a long-time energy
journalist and frequent contributor to
POWER.

62 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
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Includes bibliographic references and index.

SUBJECT AREAS
STEAM BOILERS | COMBUSTION FOSSIL FUELS | NUCLEAR POWER | EMISSIONS CONTROL

TABLE OF CONTENTS
System of Units
Editors Foreword
Introduction toSteam
B&W History
Section I Steam Fundamentals
Section II Steam Generation from Chemical Energy
Section III Applications of Steam
Section IV Environmental Protection
Section V Specication, Manufacturing and Construction
Section VI Operations
Section VII Service and Maintenance
Section VIII Steam Generation from Nuclear Energy

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ADVERTISERS INDEX

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April 2017 POWER www.powermag.com 67
COMMENTARY
Reports of the Electric
Grids Death Have Been
Russell P.
Schussler, PE
Jill S. Tietjen,
PE
Greatly Exaggerated
here have been numerous pronouncements recently about (NERC) of reliability standards covers the areas of measurable per-

T the upcoming demise of the bulk power grid as consumers


are projected to move toward decentralized green energy
sources. We dont believe that the end of the electric grid is nigh
formance, risk mitigation strategies, and entity capabilities as well
as Critical Infrastructure Protection. In many cases, compliance
with the standards requires increased transmission investment.
upon us. Utilities in coastal states are examining hardening alterna-
tives for their transmission systems to allow them to better with-
Investment in Transmission Grows stand hurricanes and intense weather. System hardening does
In the last decade, low load growth in the U.S. has been accom- not just apply to transmission systems that are subject to hur-
panied by continued transmission growth. Although the percent ricanes; improvements can be made to enhance systems against
of load growth is declining or flat nationwide, investment in any type of weather or catastrophic event.
the transmission system is increasing. In addition, recent trends Elements of system hardening programs include vegetation
suggest that decarbonization effortsinstallation of renewable management, flood hardening, preparing for heat waves and dry
resources and distributed energy resourceswill likely be ac- spells, upgrading poles and structures with stronger materials,
companied by increasing transmission expansion. Other factors undergrounding, shortening span lengths, changing out wires,
are contributing to the increased transmission system invest- and investing in smart grid sensors. All of these efforts require
ment as well. additional investment dollars.
Annual electric load growth has trended downward over our
lifetimes, from 9.8% annual growth in the 1950s to 0.7% in the Renewables Require Enhanced Transmission
first decade of the 21st century. Nonetheless, the load itself con- What about green energy? Solar energy resources developed to
tinues to grow as does transmission system investment. Annual date include rooftop solar (with a current penetration of about
investment in the transmission system increased from around $2 1%), community gardens, and large utility-scale projects. We
billion in 1997, to $14 billion in 2012, an annual growth rate of predict that rooftop solar will not be the resource of choice for
almost 14%. What is driving this significant growth in transmis- most Americans in the future. For them, increased solar usage
sion system investment? Lets look at some factors. will come from utility-scale and community solar projectswith
Additions of new generation as well as retirements of exist- an associated transmission investment.
ing generation cause the flows on the system to change. Each Most wind development to date is actually in the form of
time a generation source location is changed by an addition or a utility-scale projects in states or portions of states where not
retirement, the resulting flows on the transmission system cause many people live. Thus, wind energy is often accompanied by a
additional stress or unloading on other parts of the system. significant investment in transmission to move the energy from
Sometimes, the additional stress can cause potential overload- where it is to where the peopleand thus the demand for that
ing and voltage problems. electricityare.
A transmission planner must carefully examine the effects A greening of the power supply, rather than limiting the im-
of all generation changes. If problems are created, additional portance of the grid, will enhance the need for increased trans-
transmission system investment will be necessary. Furthermore, mission investment despite higher levels of local generation,
if there are considerable variable intermittent resources, the sys- microgrids, or individual customers who go off grid. Interconnec-
tem must be built so that it supports multiple dispatch scenari- tions to the transmission grid provide a low-cost, backup source
os. This will generally call for greater transmission infrastructure. of power, allow for energy exchanges and capacity sharing, and
Greater demands are being placed on the transmission grid. also serve to enhance overall reliability.
Today, building a flexible system that allows economic dispatch Grid connections have the capability to enhance the conve-
under a variety of operating conditions is becoming a strong nience, security, flexibility, cost, environmental responsibility,
priority in many areas. and performance of localized power systems. More renewables
and non-conventional technologies will likely include a major
Hardening the System role for, and potential expansions of, the bulk transmission grid.
Much of our existing transmission infrastructure is old, and re- The more we expect from our power systems, the more central
quires upgrading and replacement independently from growth the grid will remain.
drivers. This includes replacement in kind and uprates for in- Russell P. Schussler, PE is vice president of system
creased functionality, system hardening, and the ability to meet planning for Georgia Transmssion Corp. and Jill S. Tietjen, PE
increasingly stringent compliance requirements. is an outside director for the Georgia Transmission Corp. and
Enforcement by the North American Electric Reliability Corp. CEO of Technically Speaking Inc.

68 www.powermag.com |
POWER April 2017
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