FirstEnergy in middle of converting Eastlake Power Plant coal generating units
FirstEnergy is deep in the process of converting the Eastlake Power Plant from a coal powered generating station to a site featuring five synchronous condensers.
The project, which is expected to cost about $60 million, is planned to be finished by June 2015. One of the five generating units has already been converted, a second is in the middle of being converted and the other three are waiting for the switch. Each unit takes about 18 months to be completely converted.
As FirstEnergy electrical engineer Christopher Slattery explained, here is how the Eastlake generating plant currently works on a very basic level. Coal is burned to produce steam, which turns turbines. The turbines then turn generators that produce electricity.
After this conversion is complete, coal will no longer be burned at the plant and the familiar sight of steam being released from the tall stacks on top of the facility will be but a memory.
While the plant will no longer be generating electricity come September, it will still be important in ensuring the reliability of the electrical grid.
Kevin England, a manager of major projects at FirstEnergy, said the synchronous condensers of the plant will help pull cheap nfl jerseys china in power from plants that are farther away. He compared voltage to water pressure in a pipe.
If you have a pipe from a thousand miles away, as the water travels it loses pressure by the time it gets to the end, England said. We have the same problem with electricity that travels long distances.
It s like adding an in line pump to your hose, said Slattery.
This conversion was commissioned because in 2012 FirstEnergy announced the future closing of nine coal fired power plants. Two more closures were announced last year, said Stephanie Walton, senior nfl jerseys china communications representative for FirstEnergy.
With the cost of those regulations, it just didn t make sense to make those investments, said Walton.
About 120 employees work at the plant, but that number will be reduced to between 15 to 20 once the conversion is complete.
We re currently working to offer positions throughout the rest of the business for those employees, Walton said.
Converting the Eastlake plant to synchronous condensers is one way to make up for the loss of the generating plants. There are other options, including building new condensers or installing new transmission lines, but FirstEnergy determined that converting the generating plant to a synchronous condenser was the most cost effective solution, said Slattery.
The idea is nothing new, but it s not all that common, said Slattery of converting existing plants to condensers. The Eastlake site is the only FirstEnergy property undergoing this type of conversion.
While being able to keep existing equipment, such as transformers and transmission lines, in use is the most cost effective solution, England said there have been some unexpected issues.
Unit 4 at the plant went online in 1956. That generator and much of the other original equipment is still being used and will continue cheap nhl jerseys to be used after the conversion. Meshing the new and old technology to work together has probably been the project s biggest hurdle, but there have not been any major set backs.
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