O&M – Business: Tenaska Virginia Generating Station

Protecting plant, personnel during winter storms

Tenaska Virginia Generating Station
Tenaska Virginia Partners LP

885-MW, gas-fired, 3 × 1 combined cycle located in Scottsville, Va
Plant manager: Robert Mayfield
Key project participants: Sam Graham, maintenance manager Donnie Scott, operations manager

Challenge.

Without much warning, gusting winds, below freezing temperatures, heavy snow and ice storms can wreak havoc on powerplant operations.

Solution.

Over the years, our plant has installed miles of heat tracing, warm sheds, and boxes around critical developed a “winterization” checklist that prepared the plant for operation in severe cold and deep snow accumulation.

The checklist incorporates input from all employees and includes actions to be taken from at least four days before an ensuing storm until after the storm has passed. During the year, cold-weather scenario training is conducted to help prepare personnel for extreme winter conditions. The checklist allows the operators to continue to operate the facility safely without dispatch interruption and includes the following procedures:

1. Before the storm. At a minimum, ensure all items on the list below are on hand, tested, and ready for use:

  • Verify chemical inventory and emergency order, if necessary.
  • Verify food supplies per inventory.
  • Verify sleeping supplies and arrangements.
  • Ensure shovels and snow removal equipment are readily available.
  • Maintain site water tank levels high in the normal operating band.
  • Arrange for more operators and technicians onsite before the storm.

2. During the storm. Procedures for ensuring the safety of employees and executing the plan include these:

  • Monitor weather conditions.
  • On-shift personnel rest periods.
  • Monitor water supplies.

3. After the storm. Proceed to the cleanup portion of the plan.

After a series of extreme Virginia snowstorms an employee “storm team” was established to improve the checklist by incorporating lessons learned. The development and execution of the winterization checklist has proven that preparation and training does work and will continue to be used for winter storms to come.

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Results.

All of the site’s preparation was tested in winter 2010 during the two worst consecutive winter storms in Virginia’s history. All major county roads within two miles of the plant were closed because of fallen trees, abandoned cars, and other road obstacles (Fig 100). Executing our winterization checklist, we were able to continue to operate the plant at maximum output.

Almost five feet of snow fell in five weeks which resulted in some of the worst outside conditions possible (Figs 101 and 102). With freezing temperatures, blowing snow and ice, and no entrance or exit from the plant, the operators used their problem-solving training to meet maximum dispatch with no interruptions.

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