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Power Play

It’s no secret that there is major activity in the U.S. power market these days. Despite the development of more energy efficient appliances and a new emphasis on conservation efforts, consumer demand for electricity continues to grow. As a result, utilities are constantly looking for new sources of energy generation like wind and biomass as well as more traditional sources like combined and single cycle natural gas turbine and clean coal generation. We’ve been actively involved in projects in all of these areas of energy generation in the last few years, including a number of current projects. These complex, schedule-driven projects often require us to provide our services in remote areas with sometimes harsh climate conditions.

George Hays, a project manager who leads many of our energy projects, has been working in Wisconsin this winter for a new utility client, updating an existing power plant scheduled to receive a SCR scrubber system in 2014-2015. Our work at this 405 megawatt gross output power plant consists of four CMT projects and one geotech project. Dry Sorbent Injection (DSI) and Activated Carbon Injection (ACI) are both needed to reduce emissions. The total project also includes the installation of an ammonia storage structure, unloading station, surrounding earthwork, crane pad geotechnical evaluation, crane pad construction, and east and west SCR foundation systems. Building & Earth has the responsibility for materials testing and construction inspections where needed. The DSI, ACI, crane pad, and SCR foundation projects are supported on deep cast auger piles. Inspections include the auger cast piles, reinforcing steel, structural steel, construction activities as directed, and field testing of the grout and structural concrete. We are working closely with the client’s QA section to provide assistance for inspection and construction documentation.

Our Louisville branch has been equally busy over the last year with several active projects for a Kentucky-based utility company. We are providing geotechnical engineering and materials testing/inspection services as part of a significant capacity upgrade to an existing ash storage area in order to extend the life of a coal fired generation plant with a net generating capacity of 563 megawatts. Additionally, Building & Earth personnel have been providing materials testing for two new 600′ stack units as part of a $1.3 billion modernization of another plant’s flue gas desulfurization scrubber system. The plant’s net summer capacity is 1,472 megawatts.

With demand for cleaner more efficient energy continuing to heat up, we plan to keep growing this business segment. Building & Earth looks forward to our role in helping clients meet the need, from the development of new power generation to maximizing existing generation systems.

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