Industry Notes: 2019 comes to an exciting close

NAES in the news

Orange Grove Energy earns VPP Star status

Over the last decade, CCJ’s best practices program has seen a dramatic uptick in entries pertaining to safety, a few for achieving VPP Star status. If you’re not familiar with the acronym VPP, Voluntary Protection Programs is an OSHA initiative that encourages private industry and federal agencies to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses through hazard prevention and control, worksite analysis, training, and cooperation between management and staff.

The certification process is arduous and can take a couple of years in some cases. Success depends to a great degree on the commitment of the personnel involved. It’s no mission for the faint of heart.

John Hutson, plant manager of Orange Grove Energy (OGE), a two-unit LM6000 peaking facility in Pala, Calif, shared some highlights of his plant’s journey to certification with the editors on a recent call. The flag-raising ceremony, well-attended by owner J-Power USA and operator NAES Corp executives (Fig 1) and plant personnel (Fig 2), took place a few weeks following the 2019 NAES Plant Managers Conference, September 17-19 (see following article).

Hutson recalled that he and Compliance Manager Ramiro Garcia attended a NAES Safe Conference in 2017 where CEO Bob Frishman asked all plants to consider pursuing VPP certification. It was clearly a benchmark for all NAES plants to strive toward in their safety culture. A few months later, J-Power USA CEO Mark Condon asked that all of his company’s plants be certified VPP Star.

Hutson and staff accepted the challenge with a desire to improve an already successful safety program while having OGE officially recognized as the elite organization all personnel believed it was.

Garcia served as the plant’s interface with Cal-OSHA, Palomar Energy (the VPP mentor facility), and the consultants engaged for the effort. Tony Moretto led his team of OMTs—including Al DeLuna, Erik Cherry, Gregg Stephens, and Paul Braemer—on making the O&M improvements that became evident as OGE worked through the process. Corporate support was provided by David Jackson, VP safety; Boggy Barnett, senior manager of safety; and Chris Trevino, project manager of safety.

OGE addressed and closed more than 300 safety issues and actions identified by plant staff, certified safety professionals, and Cal-OSHA inspectors—this at a plant with an enviable safety record in a company that promoted safety continually. The plant applied for Cal-OSHA VPP Star certification in August 2018; official certification came in August 2019.

Sixteen plants recognized for their best practices

One of the highlights of the mid-September NAES Plant Managers Conference, which focused on safety and operational excellence, was a session dedicated to best practices. Presentations were made by the plant managers from the four facilities earning Best of the Best recognition from CCJ: Dogwood Energy Facility, Edgewood Energy, Elwood Energy, and the Quail Run Energy Center. Another dozen generating plants powered by gas turbines received Best Practices Awards (Sidebar 1).

1. NAES plants recognized with 2019 Best Practices Awards

AMP Fremont Energy Center       Lawrence Generating Station
CCC Tuxpan II and V                  MEAG Wansley Unit 9
Channel Islands Power Cogen     Orange Grove Energy Center
Energia del Valle de Mexico I      Pinelawn Power LLC
Ferndale Generating Station       Shoreham Energy LLC
Green Country Energy               Worthington Generating Station

The NAES Plant Managers Conference is not your typical user meeting; it goes beyond technology into the staffing and training challenges facing plant managers, shares leadership and consensus-building know-how, and digs into HR and environmental initiatives that require a plant manager’s attention.

Technical presentations are of a more general nature than one typically finds at frame-specific user meetings. Titles of the vendor presentations in Sidebar 2 illustrate this point. Presentations by plant personnel are much the same, geared for an audience with diverse information needs. The presentations by plant managers in the best practices session, which showcased NAES’s experience with 7F, 501F, LM6000, and 7EA engines, offered ideas that could be adopted at most gas-turbine plants. Below are thumbnails of the Best of the Best Practices with accompanying links for greater detail.

Dogwood Energy Facility. To improve operational performance and enhance personnel safety, plant staff designed and implemented procedures and modifications to verify proper seating of gaskets for steam-drum doors and to eliminate the need for hot torqueing.

Edgewood Energy. Plant staff took an unconventional route to outage success by selecting multiple service providers to perform maintenance and field services which drastically reduced the cost of LM6000 repairs traditionally provided by one company.

Elwood Energy. Changes in the plant’s operating profile prompted management to develop and implement a comprehensive, long-term employee training and retention program to develop the next generation of multi-skill powerplant O&M technicians and supervisors.

Quail Run Energy Center. Excessive vibration in one of the site’s generator rotors caused by thermal sensitivity led plant staff and a vendor partner to conduct comprehensive inspection, testing, and repairs that resulted in a successful return to service within proper design parameters.

2. Exhibitor presenters and their topics

  • Bruel & Kjaer Vibro, Gas turbine balancing and vibration analysis.
  • S T Cotter Turbine Services Inc, The runway alternative for generator rotor removal.
  • The EI Group Inc, NFPA 70E electrical arc flash.
  • Emerson, New technologies for the global power industry.
  • Nalco Water, Minimizing iron transport.
  • Orr Protection Systems Inc, Improving the life safety of CO2 fire extinguishing systems.
  • Power Emissions Group, Catalyst 101.
  • Power Plant Services, PPS reverse engineering.
  • Power Substation Services, Hot oil reclamation on transformers.
  • SDMyers LLC, Best monitor or best fit? Selecting between single- and multiple-gas remote monitoring.
  • Sherwin Williams Co, Corrosion prevention.


As plants strive to reduce operating costs, respond to changing grid demands, and maximize revenue, digital upgrades from controls all the way to artificial intelligence will fuel their progress. Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems is responding to these challenges with its MHPS-TOMONI® plant solutions aimed at steadily progressing towards a smart powerplant capable of autonomous operation.

“Creating the Smart Power Plant of the Future” offers generation-asset owner/operators a roadmap to the digital future and a look at the digital solutions that will be implemented in what the company calls the “world’s first smart power plant” under construction at MHPS’ Takasago Machinery Works.

The smart powerplant is aware of neighboring plants, grid congestion, power markets, and weather forecasts and able to provide real-time insights and recommendations based on analytics to optimally support the grid and maximize revenue from energy and ancillary services markets.

J-series Americas recap. After installing the first J-series turbine in 2017, MHPS installed 11 more machines in 2018. Four 501JAC orders booked in 1Q/19 were split between Mexico and the US. In early July, J-Power USA ordered two 1 × 1 501JAC power trains for the nominal 1300-MW Jackson Generation Project in Elwood, Ill. A noteworthy feature of this plant will be its ability to operate at less than 25% of full load while remaining in emissions compliance. In October, Suncor Energy ordered two 501JAC engines and two HRSGs for a future cogeneration facility at the company’s Oil Sands Base Plant near Fort McMurray. Finally, PowerSouth ordered a 640-MW combined cycle, powered by a 501JAC engine, for its Lowman Energy Center in Leroy, Ala, to replace ageing coal-fired units.


Siemens delivered the world’s first HL-class gas turbine, its SGT6-9000HL, to Duke Energy’s Lincoln Combustion Turbine Station near Denver, NC. The 402-MW engine was lifted to its foundation in November 2019 and is scheduled to begin a four-year testing program early in 2020. It will operate in simple-cycle mode under real powerplant conditions. Efficiency is 43%, ramp rate 85 MW/min, inspection intervals are 33k equivalent base hours and 1250 equivalent starts.

Recent orders. RUE Vitebskenergo (Belarus) orders five SGT-800 gas turbine/generators and auxiliaries for the state-owned utility’s new 150-MW Lukomiskaya and 100-MW Novopolotskaya peaking plants.

    • Vietnam’s Hiep Phuoc Power Co will upgrade its Heip Phuoc steam plant in Ho Chi Minh City to combined cycle with the addition of three SGT5-4000F gas turbines and related equipment, increasing output by about 780 MW to 1200 MW.

    • South Korean IPP Yeoju Energy Services selects an HL-class 2 × 1 power island from Siemens to power its new 1004-MW plant in Gyeonggi Province, scheduled for commissioning in mid-2022. This is the OEM’s first HL-class plant for the Asian market.

    • Pakistan’s K-Electric orders a 900-MW combined cycle powered by two SGT5-4000F gas turbines for its Bin Qasim Power Complex in Karachi. Project completion is expected by early 2022.

    • PJSC Kazanorgsintez, one of Russia’s largest chemical companies orders a 250-MW 1 × 1 combined-cycle plant that will operate on a syngas byproduct of ethylene production. The SGT5-2000E-powered plant will be built in Tatarstan.

    • Specialty chemicals producer Evonik Industries orders a two-unit combined-cycle cogeneration plant for the Marl Chemical Park in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The two 90-MW units will replace the last coal-fired units at the site.

    • Astoria Generating Co contracts for the turnkey construction of two nominal 300-MW SeaFloat power barges each equipped with eight SGT-A65 (Industrial Trent 60) gas turbines. They will replace four existing power barges located at Gowanas Generating Station, offshore Brooklyn, NY, commissioned nearly 50 years ago.

      Compagnie Electrique de Bretagne, an affiliate of Total SA, contracts for the turnkey construction of a 446-MW combined cycle powered by an SGT5-4000F gas turbine. Location: Landivisiau, France. COD is expected in the second half of 2021.

    • PowerSouth repowers the McWilliams powerplant in Covington County, Ala, with an SGT6-2000E gas turbine section replacing the existing V84.2. Results: Power increase from 102 to 114 MW, simple-cycle efficiency increase from 31% to 35%, emissions decrease from 13-16 ppm NOx to 10 ppm.


Generator Users Group, part of the PowerUsers family, elects Dave Fischli of Duke Energy chairman for 2020 and Jeff Phelps of Southern Company vice-chair.

Emerson completes the purchase of Intelligent Platforms from GE, enabling Emerson to expand its capabilities in machine control and discrete applications. IP’s portfolio of cloud-connected controllers and devices for smart plants will complement Emerson’s Plantweb™ digital ecosystem. 

In related news, the city of Fremont (Neb) Dept of Utilities selects Emerson to replace existing controls with automation technology designed for widely distributed assets—including power generation and delivery and water/wastewater collection, treatment, and distribution.

The company also selects Dragos Inc to collaborate on cybersecurity protection for the power and water industries.

Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) appoints Ing Giuseppe Marino CEO of Ansaldo Energia, a subsidiary company through CDP Equity. Marino was Hitachi Group’s COO.

Conval, a global leader in high-performance severe-service valves for HRSGs and other demanding applications, announced the following personnel changes over the last several weeks: Mike Hendrick, VP global marketing and sales, well respected by powerplant owners and operators, has retired. President Don Curtin has appointed Don Bowers Jr, who had been sales director since spring 2017, to replace Hedrick. Rod Alford is the company’s new Midwest regional manager.

Izzy Kerszenbaum and Geoff Klempner, known to generator owner/operators worldwide, announce their five-day technical training program, “Design, Operation, and Maintenance of Large Turbo-Generators.” Jan 13-17, 2020, in Irvine, Calif. Course is based on information from their textbook, “Handbook of Large Turbo-Generator Operation and Maintenance,” third edition.

Rodger Anderson, perhaps best known in the industry for his compressor-vane pinning repairs, has retired from DRS. Core Tech Turbine Services has been licensed to provide ongoing support for this product line, including new pinning projects. The company’s engineering manager, Joel Holt, a former 7F user, was involved in one of the first pinning projects in 2003.

Sal DellaVilla, CEO of Strategic Power Systems Inc, is appointed managing director of the Gas Turbine Association, effective Jan 1, 2020. He will replace William H Day, who served in that position since the group’s inception in 1995. Day will continue to serve as a strategic consultant for the GTA going forward. For more insight, please read the commentary on p 3.

Paul Tucker, president of Houston-based TBS Manufacturing/FIRST Consulting & Inspection Services, called to say his company now manufactures accessory couplings for GE Frame 3, 5, 6, and 7 engines, as well as for some Westinghouse and Siemens gas turbines. Product includes the shaft as well as the external shaft hub with an external spline as well as the coupling hub itself, which has an internal spline. Companion service offering includes repairs to shafts/couplings fit for further use.

Tucker, one of the industry’s pre-eminent turbine mechanics, also spoke to the availability of custom 7F and 7EA inner and outer crossfire tubes using a new manufacturing process that is said to offer longer life than the traditional rolled-plate/seam-welded design. TBS’s crossfire tubes are made from solid bar stock (L-605) to avoid the typical out-of-round condition near the end of life.

Jeff Bause, a familiar face and frequent participant/presenter on HRSG cleaning at gas-turbine user group conferences, is appointed COO of Groome Industrial Service Group

MTU Aero Engines celebrates 50 years of service to the industry. Engineers from Daimler-Benz and MAN Turbomotoren GmbH joined forces in 1969 to collaborate on engine technology. The company’s journey through a half century of innovation, and a look at the propulsion technologies of tomorrow, are chronicled in articles, videos, photo galleries, and interactive specials at

Hytorc’s Lithium Series II electric torque tool, said to be the next revolution in bolting technology, features a lightweight 36-V battery with built in TorcSense™ technology driven by an all-new brushless motor. Tool is compatible with conventional sockets and the company’s washers and nuts. Models go to 5000 ft-lb.

Liburdi’s advanced repairs for critical turbine components—including buckets, nozzles shroud blocks, combustion liners, transition pieces, and fuel nozzles—extend the lifetimes of these parts, thereby reducing O&M costs and deferring—possibly avoiding—the purchase of new components.

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