July. 2024
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U.S. Gas-Fired Plants Tune Up as Summer Heat Hits All-Time Highs

As Americans crank their air conditioners to full throttle, operators of natural gas-fired power plants are bracing for energy demand that already has broken records. Power units that supply both the power grid and individual facilities will be under plenty of pressure this summer, and while most operators already performed maintenance earlier in the year, some are preparing for outages in the coming months. Industrial Info is tracking about 100 maintenance-related projects at power plants that entirely or partly use natural gas as a resource, which are set to kick off from July through August.


Bruce Chung, the chief financial officer for NRG Energy Incorporated (NYSE:NRG) (Houston, Texas), was among the energy executives who expressed confidence in his company's recently completed maintenance projects: "We have taken advantage of the mild winter in February and March to conduct our maintenance activities more proactively, and we feel confident about fleet performance heading into the critical summer months," he said in a quarterly earnings-related conference call. Nonetheless, many of these companies have maintenance projects slated for major facilities in the coming months.

NRG's projects include one of the single highest-valued scheduled turnarounds within the U.S.: the $15 million outage of Unit 1 at its Gregory Power Partners Cogeneration Plant in Gregory, Texas, which generates 171 megawatts (MW) from a natural gas-fired, combined-cycle (NGCC) generator built by General Electric (NYSE:GE) (Boston, Massachusetts). Subscribers to Industrial Info's Global Market Intelligence (GMI) Power Project and Plant Databases can learn more from a detailed project report and plant profile.

Texas accounts for more maintenance-related projects--and more investment in such projects--at gas-fired power-generation facilities in the third quarter than any other U.S. state. Rayburn Electric Cooperative (Rockwall, Texas) is readying to perform normal inspections and repairs to the NGCC Unit Block 1 at its Rayburn Energy Station in Sherman, Texas, which generates 803 MW from turbines provided by Siemens AG (Munich, Germany). Subscribers can learn more from a detailed project report and plant profile.

Pennsylvania narrowly trails Texas in its total statewide investment in maintenance projects at gas-fired plants, led by Tyr Energy Incorporated's (Overland Park, Kansas) 28-day hot gas-path inspections at its 1,033.7-MW, NGCC Hickory Run Energy Station in New Castle, Pennsylvania, which sits near the border with Ohio within the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. Tyr Energy is a subsidiary of Itochu Corporation (Tokyo, Japan). Subscribers can learn more from a detailed project report and plant profile.

Arizona-based utility Salt River Project (Tempe) accounts for the single highest-valued maintenance project for the coming quarter: a 71-day outage at the 113.6-MW Unit 3 at the Agua Fria Power Station in Glendale, Arizona, which is driven by a General Electric tandem-compound steam turbine generator. Agua Fria, which has a total output of 722 MW, features seven other natural gas-fired units, as well as a battery energy-storage system (BESS) and a small solar array. Subscribers can learn more from a detailed project report and plant profile.

Many of the third-quarter maintenance kickoffs are at power plants that supply individual facilities, instead of the power grid. Two are part of the Texas Gulf Coast's booming Chemical Processing Industry: Formosa Plastics Group's (Livingston, New Jersey) 85-MW Unit 1 at its plastics plant in Point Comfort and TPC Group Incorporated's (Houston) 35-MW steam turbine generator at its butadiene plant in Houston. Subscribers can read detailed reports on the Point Comfort and Houston projects.

Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE:ADM) (Chicago, Illinois) uses natural gas-fired units to power many of its soybean-processing plants. It is slated to perform maintenance on power units at its 2 million ton-per-year soybean mill and refinery in Decatur, Illinois; 1.7 million-ton-per-year soybean processing plant in Lincoln, Nebraska; and 1.28 million ton-per-year soybean processing plant in Valdosta, Georgia. The projects are expected to wrap up in July, August and September, respectively. Subscribers can read detailed reports on the Decatur, Lincoln and Valdosta projects.

Subscribers to Industrial Info's GMI Project and Plant databases can click here for a full list of detailed reports for projects mentioned in this article, and click here for a full list of related plant profiles.

Subscribers can click here for a full list of reports for maintenance-related projects at power plants across the U.S. that are set to kick off from July through August.