Best Practices to consider for your upcoming outage

One of the biggest challenges facing owners and operators of generating assets in deregulated markets is the need to continually improve the performance of their facilities—to increase revenues and decrease expenses. One component of this goal of “continual improvement” is best practices. These are the methods and procedures plants rely on to assure top performance on a predictable and repeatable basis.

In 2016, more than 30 plants were recognized for the Best Practices they submitted to CCJ’s editors for the annual awards program. The summary below gives you one-mouse-click access to half of the ideas they shared; simply click on the plant name. A quick review may identify one or two worth pursuing during your upcoming outage.

This year, plants were recognized for best practices in water management, O&M, performance improvement, fast-start procedures, monitoring and diagnostics, outage management, and safety. One-third of the entries focused on O&M best practices, 27% on performance improvement, 17% on safety. The final installment of 2016 Best Practices will be published in early November.

Get recognition for your plant by participating in the journal’s 2017 Best Practices Awards program. Instructions and entry form are available online.

Armstrong Energy

As-built four-zone CO2 low-pressure GT fire protection system was expanded and improved by addition of two high-pressure CO2 zones to protect the load tunnel and collector cabinet omitted from the safety plan when the plant was designed. Safety systems and procedures should be reviewed periodically to assure they are current regarding Best Practices

Athens Generating Plant

      • Plant reliability and safety were improved by redesign of high-pressure and hot-reheat steam bypass attemperators to eliminate cracks and reduce thermal stresses.

      • Fan shrouds for plant’s air-cooled condenser were built-up of hollow components prone to collecting water. The additional weight presented safety concerns. Drilling of drain holes caused components to fail causing concern that liberated parts might strike personnel at ground level. Solution was simple: solid fiberglass fan shrouds.

      • Retrofit safety windows allow personnel to see potential hazards before opening package doors to investigate alarms or abnormal conditions.

Brandywine Power Facility

Readiness plan assures reliable transfer from gas to oil at this 7EA-powered combined cycle. Fuel-oil flushing procedure and recommendations for successful fuel transfer offer details of value for plants with all types of engines.

Brooklyn Navy Yard Cogeneration Plant

Fuel-transfer and starting reliability were improved with valve upgrades in both the water injection (NOx control and power boost) and fuel-oil systems. Last winter, the 19-year-old plant achieved 100% reliability in fuel transfer for the first time, while burning oil for the most hours in its history.

Dogwood Energy Facility

      • Learn from Dogwood’s experience on how to extract archived data from four different control systems into a secondary historian to allow evaluation of that information—all while installing a new control system.

      • Plant personnel predict when generator maintenance is required to mitigate the effects of partial discharge and spark erosion using online flux-probe technology and offline borescope inspection to assess stator condition.

      • LOTO support system suitable for small outages was upgraded to reduce delays in processing personnel and paperwork during large outages. A mobile cabinet, designed by plant personnel, that can be moved outside the control room to more accessible locations as needed is critical to this goal.

Doswell Energy Center

Innovative plant personnel figure out how to replace obsolete IGV actuators, fuel-gas ball valves, and electrohydraulic fuel-gas actuators of European design with US alternatives at a fraction of the quoted replacement costs.

Effingham County Power

      • Relocation of the boiler blowdown discharge point greatly improves performance of electric superheater.

      • Freeze protection system was overhauled and documented to allow rapid troubleshooting and repair.

      • Lube-oil and seal-oil pumps were converted from greased thrust bearings to forced-feed lube oil, greatly improving reliability and reducing unit downtime.

      • Sensing lines for fuel-gas-train control valves were equipped with protective valving and drains to prevent wintertime freeze-up and loss of generation.

Green Country Energy

Plant management refined black-plant process and procedures, communicated expectations more clearly, and established and documented priorities to enable faster restoration of normal facility operations. A quick reference checklist detailing immediate actions required from the control board during a black-plant event, immediate actions required outside the control room, and follow-up actions is a valuable starting point for others to assure proper response. Also, a black-plant emergency equipment checklist suggests what equipment to have on hand (fire hoses, lighting, etc) to speed recovery.

Lawrence Generating Station

Top hat prevents water from heavy rain and melting snow from entering a line-side cubicle, thereby protecting electrical components against corrosion and possible arcing failures.

MEAG Wansley Unit 9

      • Storage tips for chains and hoists helps protect equipment and extend its service life while creating a safer workplace.

      • Long-lived tagging and labeling mitigates the risk of injury that could result from using a tool or ladder not properly inspected.

Paris Energy Center

Trolley system designed and installed by plant personnel streamlines replacement of generator collector rings, offers extensive cost savings in shop time and crane support.

Pleasant Valley Station

Oil change, bypass plate mitigate varnish issues. Also provided are best practices for lube-oil storage, handling, and use.

T A Smith Energy Facility

A revamp of plant’s safety program and staff responsibilities for outages reduces job hazards, cuts costs, increases the number of lessons learned and implemented for benefit, etc.

Tuaspring Power Plant

Plant’s use of best-available automation systems and technology minimizes staffing costs.

Waterside Power

Reliability improvement through automation is an ongoing initiative at the mature Waterside generating facility. The three Best Practices shared include automation of the generator emergency lube-oil system, remote fuel isolation capability to reduce the risk of loss of generation and/or equipment caused by fire or a major leak, and real-time monitoring of the fuel building to warn of an off-normal condition.

Worthington Generating Station 

Safer, faster chiller winterization was achieved with the development of a new procedure and some plant mods.

Upcoming. Stay tuned to for Best Practices from AES Amman East Power Plant, AES Levant, AL Sandersville, Colusa Generating Station, H L Culbreath Bayside Power Station, Faribault Energy Park, Fremont Energy Center, New Harquahala Generating Station, Lea Power Partners, Millennium Power Plant, MPC Generating, PSE Ferndale Generating Station, Rathdrum Power, and Rokeby Generating Station.

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