Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, will retire the Crystal River nuclear plant in Citrus County, Fla. The company is reviewing alternatives to replace the power produced by the unit, including the potential construction of a new natural gas-fired plant. The nuclear unit, which began operating in 1977, was shut down in the fall of 2009 for refueling and replacement of its steam generators when a delamination was discovered in the outer layer of the containment building’s concrete wall.
Babcock & Wilcox mPower (B&W mPower) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) signed a contract to prepare and support nuclear regulatory commission (NRC) review of a construction permit application for a B&W mPower small modular reactor (SMR) at TVA’s Clinch River Site in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The DOE awarded a cost-sharing grant to B&W mPower in November 2012. Preliminary work at the Clinch River site is expected to begin once B&W mPower and the DOE sign a cooperative agreement for the grant funds. TVA expects to submit the construction permit application to the NRC in 2015.
Xcel Energy began a scheduled refueling outage at the 600-MW Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant, which includes work to increase output by 71 MW and improve plant efficiency. The uprate project, which includes equipment upgrades that started in 2009, will cost $500 million. Bechtel serves as the primary contractor, with subcontractors GE, PCI, Day & Zimmerman, Sulzer, and Collins Electric, among others. About 2,000 workers will be onsite during the outage. To meet electric demand while the plant is offline, Xcel Energy increases electricity production at its other generating plants, and purchases power on the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator wholesale market and directly from other utilities.
Alstom upgraded its 3-MW onshore ECO 100 Platform to maximize available wind resources. Alstom upgraded the ECO 110 turbine, currently designed for medium (Class II-A) wind sites, to handle medium and high winds (IEC Class II-A, and IS Class). The ECO 122 turbine, currently suitable for Class III sites, was upgraded for medium and low winds (IEC Class III-A, and II B Class). Alstom says the upgrades raise the net capacity factor to 48 percent for both turbines.
NRG Solar started commercial operations for the Alpine solar generating station, a 66-MW (AC) photovoltaic (PV) facility, which NRG says is the largest fully operational solar plant in California. The station’s output will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric under a 20-year agreement.
Southern California Edison (SCE) submitted additional information requested by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to continue discussion of the steps necessary to restart San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Unit 2, and to address current compliance with the plant’s technical specifications. The new information builds on the analysis and restart proposal SCE submitted to the NRC in October 2012 in response to NRC’s confirmatory action letter. The information addresses how SCE anticipates addressing ongoing steam generator analysis and interim measures beyond the proposed operating period. SCE proposed restarting Unit 2 at 70 percent power for five months to prevent the conditions that caused excessive tube wear in San Onofre’s steam generators.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will re-examine the proposed 78-MW Goodhue wind project in Goodhue County, given changes in the ownership structure, financing, date of service, and operating elements of the project. New Era (formerly AWA Goodhue), the current project owner, and Xcel Energy, the power purchaser, are currently renegotiating the project milestones, including the in-service date.
Solon completed construction of solar systems totaling 1.15 MW for the Tanque Verde Unified School District (TVUSD) in Arizona. Spread over four campuses—Tanque Verde Elementary School, Aqua Caliente Elementary School, Emily Gray Junior High School, and Tanque Verde High School—the solar systems combine shade structures and rooftop systems. With over 4,000 solar modules, the systems will offset a portion of the daytime electricity requirements of each campus. MP2 Capital will sell the power generated from the systems to the school district under a 25-year solar services agreement.
Solon also installed a 459-kW PV system at the Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Facility for the Town of Gila Bend, Ariz. The system is expected to offset the energy usage of the water treatment facility by 86 percent. Solon designed, constructed, and commissioned the fixed-tilt system and will operate and maintain it.
M and B Switchgears Ltd. in Madhya Pradesh, India, awarded a contract to AEG Power Solutions to provide inverters for a 30-MW solar power project. Delivery is expected in the first quarter of 2013. M and B, a transformer manufacturer, signed an agreement with the government of Madhya Pradesh last October to develop nearly 100 MW of solar power plants throughout the state.
Siemens won a € 300-million ($393-million) order to supply a single-shaft power island with H-class technology for the 600-MW Samsun Cengiz Enerji combined-cycle power plant in Turkey. The customer is Cengiz Enerji Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S., an independent power producer that will build and operate the plant. Siemens says the plant will generate power with an efficiency of almost 61 percent. Commissioning is scheduled for early 2015.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced the first step in the development of a cybersecurity framework for critical infrastructure protection, a set of voluntary standards and best practices to guide industry in reducing cyber risks. Pres. Obama called for the framework in an executive order. In accordance, the secretary of commerce directed NIST to lead the framework’s development to reduce cyber risks to critical infrastructure, such as power, financial, transportation, and communications systems.
The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) awarded a $260-million contract to ABB to upgrade the existing Celilo HVDC (high-voltage direct current) converter station in Oregon. Commissioned in 1970, the station is part of the electricity link between the Pacific Northwest and Southern California. The converter station is located at the north end of the 3,100 MW Pacific DC Intertie, also known as Path 65.
PacifiCorp and the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) entered a memorandum of understanding to work toward creating a real-time energy imbalance market (EIM) by October 2014. If the market is implemented, PacifiCorp—which controls two balancing authorities primarily covering portions of six states, including part of Northern California—would participate in a co-optimized real-time energy market facilitated by the ISO. The joint agreement applies only to the EIM service. PacifiCorp stressed that it isn’t joining the ISO and will maintain control of its assets and responsibilities for serving customers.
MISO’s board of directors approved the applications of four new transmission-owning members: Cleco Power, Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government, Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, and Prairie Power. As fully integrated transmission-owning members, each will participate in MISO’s competitive energy markets and system planning and operating functions.
Landsnet, the Icelandic transmission system operator, awarded $10 million order to ABB to supply a high-voltage submarine and underground power-cable system that will transport electricity from the mainland to the volcanic island of Heimaey. The new 72-kV line will replace an existing cable that is approaching the end of its operating life. The 17.5-km line will include a 13-km submarine section, a 4.5-km underground section, and an integrated fiber-optic cable for telecommunications and temperature monitoring. As part of the turnkey contract, ABB is responsible for design, engineering, submarine cable laying, joints and terminations, testing and commissioning.
Cupertino Electric is installing a new 230-kV transmission line to interconnect a new substation serving a 200-MW PV power plant in Imperial Valley, Calif. When complete in late 2013, the overhead line will span five miles and interconnect a new 230-kV substation on a 2,000-acre solar project site in California’s Imperial Valley.
NB Power awarded a contract to ABB to upgrade the Eel River high-voltage direct current (HVDC) converter station, located near Dalhousie, New Brunswick. The bidirectional station transfers up to 350 MW and is one of two facilities allowing power exchange between New Brunswick and Quebec, providing access to Maritime and New England markets.
Smart Grid & Distribution Automation
Echelon was selected to provide smart grid systems for the Smart Grid Gotland project, a technology demonstration on the island of Gotland, Sweden. The project is sponsored by a joint venture of Vattenfall, Gotland Energy, ABB, Swedish National Grid, Schneider Electric, and the Royal Institute of Technology, and is partly financed by the Swedish Energy Agency. Echelon will provide control and operating systems, as well as 3,000 grid-sensing smart meters.
Siemens released a new data center infrastructure management system, Datacenter Clarity LC. The system aims to provide building automation and energy management features for data centers, combining Siemens’ enterprise integration and management capabilities with data center-specific software built upon Siemens Product Lifecycle Management software.
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) conducted test flights in Alabama of prototype unmanned aerial systems equipped with video and other sensing equipment to demonstrate such “drone” technology for assessing damage to electric transmission and distribution systems following storms. EPRI tested the Aeryon Scout and the Adaptive Flight Hornet Maxi, two rotary winged devices, carrying payloads that weighed less than 55 pounds and operating at altitudes under 100 feet. The systems performed visual inspection tasks including high-resolution imaging.
NextEra Energy Resources sold its equity interests in White Pine Hydro Investments, which indirectly owns 351 MW of hydro generation related assets in Maine and New Hampshire through FPL Energy Maine Hydro, to Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners. The sale valued the assets at $760 million, and included $700 million of existing non-recourse project debt.
Dominion acquired a solar energy development project from Smart Energy Capital and Jacoby Development. The Azalea PV facility, near Augusta in east-central Georgia, is planned to produce 7.7 MW (AC) of capacity. Dominion expects to select a contractor and oversee project construction. Cobb Electric Membership Corp. agreed to purchase the output under a 25-year agreement, with startup scheduled for December 2013. Financial details weren’t disclosed.
Sempra U.S. Gas & Power sold one 625-MW block of its 1,250-MW Mesquite gas-fired power plant to Salt River Project (SRP) for $371 million. In addition to 100-percent ownership of the 625-MW power block, SRP gained a 50-percent undivided interest in plant facilities. Sempra retains ownership of the plant’s remaining 625-MW power block and 50-percent interest in the plant facilities. SRP becomes the operator of the Mesquite facility.
IBM was selected to operate Independent Electricity System Operator Ontario’s meter data management and repository (MDMR) system with new computing infrastructure and an updated operating environment. The five-year, $68.5 million contract includes options to extend to seven or 10 years. Under the agreement, IBM will develop the overall performance of the MDMR through new computing and networking infrastructure, disaster recovery capabilities, and operational improvements to reduce risk and costs.
Commonwealth Utilities Corp. (CUC) in Saipan ordered two-way electric meters with Nighthawk communications technology. The meters are expected to enable a pre-paid metering system to improve collections and cash flow. CUC also expects the meters’ voltage monitoring to provide better information about system status in remote locations.
EVs & Storage
Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, BP Wind Energy and community leaders dedicated the new Auwahi wind facility on Ulupalakua Ranch in Hawaii. The 21-MW Auwahi Wind facility is BP and Sempra’s first alternative energy venture in Hawaii. The project features a 4.4-MWh grid battery system, which at its peak can sustain 11 MW of capacity for 25 minutes, helping to regulate and sustain power to Maui Electric Co.’s grid during light wind conditions.
McKim & Creed, an engineering, geospatial sciences, and planning firm, appointed Tom Kellogg as market sector leader for the power industry.