It is critical that today’s industry professionals exchange ideas and experiences to help increase productivity, encourage technological development, and improve on best practices. Whether a business is regional or global, more knowledge can be gained from worldwide information exchange than from limited regional knowledge.
POWER magazine honors the top performers in the electricity generating industry with annual power plant awards. Use POWER's Top Power Plants Guidebook as your go-to resource for ideas and tips on how the top plants are operating.
SaskPower’s Boundary Dam Carbon Capture Project Wins POWER’s Highest Award
There was no debate among our editorial team when it came to selecting the most interesting and worthy project worldwide for this year’s top award. Boundary Dam Power Station Unit 3 is the world’s first operating coal-fired power plant to implement a full-scale post-combustion carbon capture and storage system. It did so more economically than other commercially available capture processes, and the utility has been active since project initiation in sharing its experience with generators, regulators, and others globally.
Colorado Energy Nations Boiler 5 Upgrade Project
POWER’s 2015 Reinvention Award (formerly known as the Marmaduke Award) goes to an industrial cogeneration plant that reinvented its largest unit for greater fuel and operating flexibility. This project is exemplary for the owner’s foresight, maximizing local engineering resources, a stellar safety record, and project execution principles that are sound for projects of any size. Even though the plant is relatively small, odds are high that you’ve enjoyed the product produced by the industrial process this power plant supports.
Tampa Electric Co.’s Polk Power Station Reclaimed Water Project
It’s not often that a power plant upgrade improves both the environment and the bottom line. Needing to come up with a new source of cooling water for Polk Power Station, and faced with mostly expensive, environmentally questionable options, Tampa Electric came up with a solution that both secured the plant’s water supply for the future and provided significant benefits to the local environment.
Oncor’s System Operating Services Facility, Lancaster, Texas
Looking to ensure reliable power for a critical facility—as well as move the needle on microgrid technology—Texas’s largest transmission company went all-in on a state-of-the-art demonstration project that sets a new standard for future smart grid deployments.
Cengiz Enerji Samsun Combined Cycle Plant, Samsun, Turkey
Owner/operator: Cengiz Enerji Sanayi Ve Ticaret A.S.
The 600-MW Cengiz Enerji Samsun Combined Cycle Plant was constructed in only 23 months and produces electricity at a thermal efficiency of approximately 61%, making it one of the most efficient power plants in the world.
IPP3, Amman, Jordan
Owner/operator: Amman Asia Electric Power Co.
For many people, when the topic of peaking power plants arises, gas turbines come to mind. But as this world record–holding plant demonstrates, there are several reasons, including fuel flexibility and gridsupporting capabilities, that you may want to consider internal combustion engine technology to capture peaks and more.
Kyaukse Power Plant, Kyaukse, Myanmar
Owner/operator: Myanmar Electric Power Enterprise/APR Energy
The 102-MW gas-fired Kyaukse Power Plant was built in a mere two months to meet Myanmar’s critical power needs.
Panda Temple I and Panda Sherman Combined Cycle Plants, Texas
Owner/operator: Panda Power Funds
A market desperate for new capacity. A highly challenging financing environment. A grid with rapidly expanding intermittent wind generation. ERCOT needed solutions. Panda Power Funds, Siemens, and Bechtel teamed up to make it happen with a pair of highly responsive combined cycle plants.
Qurayyah Combined Cycle Power Plant, Qurayyah, Saudi Arabia
Owner/operator: Hajr Electricity Production Co.
Take one of the largest gas-fired plants in the world. Add 50C (122F)–degree heat and frequent heavy sand storms. Then slot it into a three-year construction schedule. What you get is a combined cycle behemoth with some unique technology and a multi-faceted team that pulled off a massive job.
Shepard Energy Centre, Calgary, Alberta
Owners/operators: ENMAX and Capital Power/ENMAX
Faced with an impending wave of coal plant retirements, Calgary utility ENMAX set out to build the largest, most efficient, most environmentally friendly power plant in Alberta. Along the way, it developed an innovative cold-weather reclaimed-water cooling system that helped cut wastewater discharges into a local river.
Columbia Energy Center, Portage, Wisconsin
Owners/operators: Wisconsin Power and Light Co. (a subsidiary of Alliant Energy), Wisconsin Public
Service Corp. (a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group), and Madison Gas and Electric / Wisconsin Power and Light Co.
Manjung Unit 4, Perak, Malaysia
Owner/operator: TNB Janamanjung Sdn. Bhd
Ultrasupercritical technology is the current gold standard for coal-fired plants, but Malaysian national utility Tenaga Nasional Berhad had some unique requirements for its newest, most efficient plant. With a client lacking an indigenous source of coal and needing wide fuel flexibility, Alstom delivered a state-of-the-art plant that can handle an enormous variety of coals.
Ottumwa Generating Station, Ottumwa, Iowa
Owner/operator: Interstate Power & Light Co. (a subsidiary of Alliant Energy) and MidAmerican Energy
Co. (a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy) / Alliant Energy
Alliant Energy recently completed a major renovation of the Ottumwa Generating Station to improve air quality, plant reliability, and efficiency. By doing so it also reduced its carbon footprint by ~5.6%.
Ramagundam Super Thermal Power Station, Karimnagar, Telangana, India
Owner/operator: NTPC Ltd.
One of NTPC’s first coal-fired facilities, the 2.6-GW Ramagundam plant, is aging well, delivering noteworthy performance metrics that distinguish it from other plants in the state-owned generator’s big coal fleet.
Shanghai Waigaoqiao No. 3, Shanghai, China
Owner/operator: Shenergy Company Ltd.
In a nation seeing breakneck growth in its power sector and a drive toward cleaner, more efficient generation, coal remains the backbone. That means hard work is ahead for China in power sector innovation, and a plant in Shanghai is leading the way.
Spiritwood Station, Spiritwood, North Dakota
Owner/operator: Great River Energy
Recent news has focused on the decline of the coal-fired power industry, but this highly efficient combined heat and power plant offers one template for keeping coal generation viable. Although electricity markets remain challenging, partnering with steam customers can help stabilize revenue.
Central Nuclear Néstor Kirchner (Atucha II), Lima, Argentina
Owner/operator: Nucleoeléctrica Argentina S.A.
Begun with grand ambitions in the early 1980s, the second unit at Argentina’s Atucha site ran smack into the country’s economic crises in the following decade. But a determined crew brought the project to completion after a 13-year hiatus through a focus on rebuilding the nation’s nuclear labor force.
Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, Wintersburg, Arizona
Owners/operators: Arizona Public Service Co. (APS, 29.1%), Salt River Project (17.5%), Southern, California Edison Co. (15.8%), El Paso Electric Co. (15.8%), PNM Resources (10.2%), Southern California, Public Power Authority (5.9%), and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (5.7%) / APS
The nearly 4-GW, three-unit Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station remains the largest generator of electricity in the U.S. for the 23rd consecutive year, producing more than 30 million MWh in 2014, for the 10th time (the only plant in the U.S. to do so), all while using only treated wastewater for cooling.
Blackspring Ridge Wind Project, Carmangay, Alberta
Owners/operators: Enbridge and EDF EN Canada
Think Alberta is all about oil and gas? While fossil fuels remain a major component of the province’s economy, wind is coming on strong as the federal and provincial governments look to reduce the area’s substantial carbon emissions. Alberta took a big step toward that goal with commissioning of the largest wind farm in Western Canada.
Blue Lake Expansion Project, Sitka, Alaska
Owner/operator: City and Borough of Sitka
When you live on an island in a relatively isolated location with no connection to a mainland power grid, having a reliable source of electricity is important. The Blue Lake Expansion Project provides exactly that for Sitka, allowing hydropower to supply 100% of the town’s needs.
Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, Desert Center, California
Owners/operator:s NextEra Energy Resources, NRG Yield, and Sumitomo Corp. of Americas/NextEra Energy
Briefly the world’s largest solar photovoltaic plant, Desert Sunlight remains an example of how California is charging ahead with its shift to renewable energy. Though the road has not been without bumps, First Solar has shown how these giant projects can be brought to operation safely and efficiently.
Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Plant, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea
The world’s largest power-producing tidal barrage revitalized an unsuccessful manmade reservoir that was once known as “The Lake of Death.”
Olkaria Geothermal Expansion Project, Rift Valley Province, Kenya
Owner/operator: Kenya Electricity Generating Co.
Kenya plans to produce the bulk of its electricity from geothermal power. The recent 280-MW expansion at its Olkaria fields has shown how beneficial the indigenous, renewable energy source can be.
Termosolar Borges, Les Borges Blanques, Spain
Owners/operators: Abantia and Comsa Emte
Thermal storage is often touted as the future of concentrating solar power (CSP), but it turns out there are other ways of delivering firm dispatchable CSP-generated power. A unique plant in Spain has gone the hybrid route, combining CSP with biomass generation fired with the region’s ample agricultural wastes.