On August 17, 2016 I got the opportunity to tour the Grand River Energy Center. The Grand River Energy Center owned by the Oklahoma utility Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) is located along Highway 412 in Chouteau, Oklahoma. The Grand River Energy Center consists of 2 coal-fired units that supply power to Northeast Oklahoma.
The Grand River Energy Center is in the middle of adding a 3rd unit and was updating Unit 2 before it was struck by lightning on July 1, 2016 causing a fire and damaging Unit 2. Unit 2 was undergoing a retrofit to bring the coal-fired unit in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The fire damaged Unit 2 and it is still not operational. Work is underway to get Unit 2 back online and generating electricity for Northeast Oklahoma. Unit 1 was undamaged by the lightning strike and continues to produce electricity.
Upon arrival I had no idea what to expect as this was my first trip to a power plant. I have seen the power plant for many years driving along highway 412 and highway 69, but never had the opportunity to be on the grounds of the power plant. We started the tour with a PowerPoint that consisted of an overview and progress of Unit 3.
GRDA decided to upgrade the plant to include a combined cycle unit as they already have the transmission connections available, they were able to tap into a supply of Natural Gas pipeline about a mile and a half away, environmental permitting process, and the grounds has room for future expansion.
Following the meeting we were instructed to grab a hard hat, gloves, safety glasses and a safety vest and we headed to the construction site. In regards to safety Kevin Kimball Area Manager TIC said, “I believe that taking care of the small things will result in the big things taking care of themselves.”
Safety is a big part of the project for the Unit 3 Combined Cycle turbine. TIC collects over 2000 written observations per week from supervisors and craftsmen to monitor and improve safety at the worksite. TIC management have a workplace philosophy of "No One Gets Hurt."
Unit 3 upon completion will be a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine. The plant is installing the first Mitsubishi Hitachi M501J Gas Turbine in the western hemisphere at the Grand River Energy Center. GRDA utilized the barges at the Port of Catoosa, semi-trucks and rail to deliver the part to build Unit 3. The Mitsubishi M501J is able to operate at a temperature of 1,600°C, and has a frequency of 60hz. Once Operational the Unit will produce 470 MW and have a plant efficiency of 61.5%LHV. The project started in January 2015 and is scheduled to be online in the summer of 2017.
GRDA is using contactors to complete the new Unit 3 for the Grand River Energy Center. Some of the contractors GRDA is using include Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas supplied the gas turbine and steam turbine. Mitsubishi Hitachi will also provide maintenance and support for the turbines. Black & Veatch provides the engineering services. Hitachi HVB supplies the transformers. Nooter/Eriksen supplied the HRSG. Engineering, procurement, and construction as awarded to TIC/Kiewit. While they continue to try and update the Unit 2 generator.
Standing on the grid catwalk above the HRSG over 100 feet in the air gave me a great perspective of just how big a project it is to add another unit to the Grand River Energy Center. I am looking forward to returning to the Grand River Energy Center upon completion of Unit 3. The tour was an awesome way to see how the electricity that powers our lives comes to fruition.