Exelon kicks off construction on two 1,000-MW gas plants in Texas

Black & Veatch said Feb. 19 that it has been selected as owner’s engineer by the Exelon Generation unit of Exelon (NYSE: EXC) for the installation of two 1,000-MW combined cycle natural gas units in Texas.

The units will meet growing electricity demand in Texas while reducing the amount of water used to produce power in the drought-prone state. They are being built at Exelon Generation’s gas-fired stations in Colorado Bend, southwest of Houston, and Wolf Hollow, west of Dallas. General Electric gas turbine technology (7HA.02 model) will make the units among the cleanest and most efficient in the U.S. The units will use dry cooling instead of the traditional wet cooling towers to minimize overall water usage. They are designed for rapid start-up and turndown efficiency to address varying power demands. 

In 2013, Black & Veatch began providing site feasibility analysis and conceptual design services for the projects. The company also said it assisted in the selection of major equipment suppliers. This included support with technical and commercial negotiations. As owner’s engineer, Black & Veatch’s services include engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) specification development and design support.

“The Black & Veatch approach to design concept and major equipment selection saved time and money,” said Gerome Randle, Exelon Power’s Vice President, South Region Operations. “This performance shows that Black & Veatch is well suited for similar combined cycle gas turbine project development work.”

Project construction began in January 2015, Black & Veatch noted, with commercial operation scheduled for 2017. The Colorado Bend Generating Station currently has six units capable of producing 498 MW. The Hollow Bend Generating Station is currently made up of three units able to produce 704 MW.

“This project demonstrates the value of EPC services that give our clients a single point of contact across all stages of a project,” said Dean Oskvig, President and CEO of Black & Veatch’s energy business. “The project will allow Exelon Generation to generate energy in a cost effective manner while conserving water. This is a model that can be applied to other power generation projects.”

Alstom had announced in November 2014 that it had signed a contract with Exelon Generation to supply four Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSGs) for these two new combined-cycle facilities. Exelon Generation announced in September 2014 that it was planning to build these projects.

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.