Old Dominion explains benefits of 1,000-MW Wildcat Point project

The value proposition for the 1,000-MW Wildcat Point power plant is not diminished by other proposed generation projects in Maryland, such as the project proposed by Competitive Power Ventures in Charles County and the potential Keys Energy Center plant in Prince George’s County.

“None of these proposed projects need be considered exclusive of the others,” said Old Dominion Electric Cooperative’s Vice President of Power Supply, D. Richard (Rick) Beam. “Maryland imports approximately 40% of its energy (24,738 GWh), and all three projects could enhance the reliability and adequacy of Maryland’s power generation fleet.”

Beam was one of several officials from ODEC and a consulting company supplying July 1 testimony to the Maryland Public Service Commission in support of a recent application for approval of a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) for the gas-fired Wildcat Point project.

Genesis Power proposes to construct and operate a new nominal 735-MW, two-on-one (2×1) combined-cycle, natural gas-fired plant in Prince George’s County. The Keys Energy Center project site is located north of North Keys Road and about 1.25 miles east of Brandywine, said the project website.

The Maryland PSC in April 2012 approved plans for Competitive Power Ventures to build a 661-MW combined-cycle, natural gas-fired power plant in Charles County, Md.

ODEC’s Wildcat Point project grew out of 2012 RFP

In the summer of 2012, ODEC issued a request for proposals (RFP) for resources that would best fit ODEC’s needs for additional base load or intermediate resources. Bids were sought from qualified bidders for up to 800 MW of capacity with associated energy, beginning as early as June 1, 2015, but no later than June 1, 2018, with a minimum term of ten years and maximum of thirty years.

“Market response to the RFP was competitive and robust,” Beam wrote. “ODEC received more than 82 proposals from across the PJM market area. ODEC also developed two of its own ‘self build’ options, one of which was expansion at the Rock Springs site. All qualifying proposals were compared to each other as well as to one or more self-build options over a 30-year planning period under a variety of risk sensitivity scenarios to identify the most cost-effective reliable power supply proposals. The RFP bid evaluation included price and non-price factors.”

As a result of the RFP, ODEC concluded that the self-build option of the project was the most cost-effective and reliable solution for its members. In March 2013, the ODEC Board approved the proposed project to add the new Wildcat Point facilities at the existing Rock Springs power plant site.

Several factors drove this conclusion, including, but not limited to:

  • ODEC’s long ownership interest in Rock Springs and the project site;
  • available transmission interconnection facilities on-site;
  • the strength of the transmission system in the area, which has minimized the need of any need for additional PJM Interconnection system upgrades;
  • ODEC’s successful development, construction, permitting, ownership, and operation experience at Rock Springs;
  • the proximity and competitive cost of natural gas transmission and supply; and
  • ODEC’s positive experience as a corporate citizen in Maryland and Cecil County.

The project will be located on surplus acreage at the current Rock Springs site. This site was originally designed and permitted for six simple-cycle combustion turbines. Only four turbines were constructed, and Wildcat Point will be located on the footprint originally designed for the additional two turbines. The project will be 100% owned and controlled by ODEC.

At the time the RFP development process began, the series “F” combustion turbine technology was determined to be the technology of choice for use in the RFP evaluation. Combustion turbine technology, however, has advanced rapidly over the past two years. Therefore, ODEC, with the support of its engineering consultant, Burns & McDonnell, performed additional economic and risk analyses on the newer series “G” and “H” technologies. Overall, these analyses showed that use of series G or H combustion turbine technology further improved the economic benefits of the proposed project, Beam noted.

To meet the in-service target date of summer 2017, significant monetary payments must be expended in early 2014 to hold equipment slots and delivery schedules, Beam said. It is estimated that ODEC may have to spend almost $65m by early 2014 to ensure equipment delivery. ODEC needs more certainty before making such commitments, and approval of the CPCN by the commission by March 1, 2014 is critical, Beam wrote.

Mitsubishi, Siemens turbines modeled for this project

Mary Hauner-Davis, employed by Burns & McDonnell Engineering as the Manager of the Air and Noise Department, said in July 1 testimony about the turbines modeled in the project’s air permit application: “Two combustion turbine types, that are close in both overall size and generation capacity, were modeled in the application. One type is the Mitsubishi G Option; this option includes two Mitsubishi M501GAC class natural gas-fired combustion turbine generators, each with an 892.3 million British thermal units per hour (MMBtu/hr) duct burner in a [heat recovery steam generator] HRSG that provides steam to one steam turbine generator. The second type is the Siemens H Option; this option includes two Siemens SGT6-8000H class natural gas-fired combustion turbine generators, each with a 920.2 MMBtu/hr duct burner in a HRSG that provides steam to one steam turbine generator.”

Richard McWhorter Jr., ODEC’s Vice President, Operations and Asset Management, said the existing Rock Springs facility comprises four General Electric 7FA simple-cycle gas turbine generators with supporting equipment, including an eight million gallon service water storage tank. A 500-kV ring-bus substation is located on site and serves the existing facility. A Columbia Gas Transmission natural gas pipeline runs diagonally across the eastern portion of the Rock Springs site and is used to support the existing facility. This gas line is one of three options being considered for use as a fuel source for the project.

When the existing facility was originally permitted and constructed, permits were obtained and initial site preparation was completed for two additional simple-cycle gas turbine generators. Switchyard facilities necessary for two additional units were constructed, and a generator step-up transformer was purchased and installed to support future expansion units.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.