TVA Begins Combustion Testing at Paradise Combined Cycle Plant

By Editors of Power Engineering

The Tennessee Valley Authority has begun the first fires at the in-development Paradise Combined Cycle Plant.

The 19-day testing process of the 1,025 MW plant, begun October 10, will allow for generating heat and running pre-operation checks, though it won’t generate electricity.

Day two of the process will be particularly involved, said Roger Waldrep, general manager of TVA Major Projects.

“We’ll refire the engine, bring it up to normal operating speed, and match frequency and voltage to the TVA grid,” Waldrep said. “Then we’ll close the breaker and connect to the grid, which is initial synchronization. That’s the first time we’ll be generating power, and that power will be available on the grid. That’s a big day.”

Day three will involve synchronizing the unit to the grid and incrementally increasing power to full load. Then, unit operators and engineers will fluctuate the loads over the next few days.

“We will go to low loads and make sure our control systems and voltage regulators are working,” Waldrep says. “Then we’ll move the load around, going up to 200-225 MW and coming back down, focusing on testing, control and tuning in the subsequent days.”

Unit 2 and Unit 3 will be tested first sequentially and then concurrently with Unit 1. Once testing of the combustion turbine units is complete, workers will test Paradise’s steam systems.

“We’ll spend another three weeks refiring the gas turbines to make steam that we’ll blow through the boilers and steam piping systems,” Waldrep said. “That way we’ll ensure that the steam system is sound and that all the piping systems are free of any debris.” This period is referred to as “steam blows”.

Testing should be complete by early 2017. Then full load testing with all three combustion turbines and the steam turbine generator will begin, as well as completion of all contractual performance and reliability acceptance tests. The goal is for Paradise to enter commercial power production well before summer 2017.

TVA estimates the plant is now 84 percent complete. 

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