Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities’ new 2 x 1 combined-cycle plant replaces existing coal-fired units with cleaner sources of energy to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s strict environmental regulations.
The joint venture project between PCL Industrial Construction Co. and Black & Veatch’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Overland Contracting, Inc., included engineering, procurement, construction and startup/ commissioning. Under the Kentucky Public Service Commission, energy providers must meet the needs of their customers by using the lowest-cost alternative available, which in this case meant a switch from coal-fired to natural gas units. For Kentucky residents, Cane Run Unit 7 translates into low-cost, reliable, and cleaner energy for years to come.
Seeking to gain a competitive advantage in a marketplace governed by fuel costs and volatile electricity demand, owners LG&E KU sought out technology that would provide operational flexibility, high efficiency and high reliability. To that end, they selected the Siemens SGT6- 5000Fee (efficiency enhanced) gas turbine technology— the first-of-its-kind—for the Cane Run project. Because new technology has no operating history, there was reason for concern about potential flaws that could cause delays.
Since both field modifications and commissioning risks could have had a major impact on the schedule, the project team carefully assessed potential challenges of applying the technology during the engineering phase to develop an implementation plan that would facilitate success. The joint venture team fostered a transparent relationship with LG&E KU and included them in all project meetings so they could understand at firsthand any potential risk or concern.
THE NEARLY UNSOLVABLE PUMP-AND-MOTOR MYSTERY
After a crucial circulating water pump and motor began malfunctioning in November and the supplier provided no assistance, the project team worked through a series of different solutions without luck. As the project completion date neared, PCL sent the equipment to the shop for a total rebuild, knowing that temperature issues prevented running of the motor within design specifications.
After a rebuild and reinstallation, vibration troubles continued, so the team cut the welds, ultimately to no avail. Only when they rewelded the gussets—thick sheets of steel at the baseplate of the pump—did the vibration subside. When the pump manufacturer ran the pump the following day, it performed far better in terms of vibration than previously. The solution, when it came, would not have been possible without the commitment of the project team, PCL’s JV partner and the client.
With completion of the Cane Run Unit 7 Power Plant, the Louisville Gas & Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company is now providing Kentucky families with newer and cleaner sources of energy.