Xcel’s Cherokee gas-fired plant due for completion in December

As of the end of 2014, the Cherokee 2×1 Combined Cycle power plant project of Public Service Co. of Colorado was about 87% complete, and the project is tracking for a completion in December of this year, said this Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) subsidiary in a semi-annual project update filed on April 6 at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

All major powerblock equipment has been erected including combustion turbine generators, steam turbine generator, heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs) and generator step up (GSU) transformers. Several other key activities were completed during this latest reporting period, as well.

The project’s design-build contract (DBC) awarded to Kiewit is progressing on schedule. Kiewit performed engineering, procurement and construction activities throughout this reporting period. Engineering is now 100% complete, procurement of engineered equipment is 100% complete, and construction is approximately 87% complete. In addition to setting the major powerblock equipment, Kiewit completed erection of the steam turbine building, completed erection and piping for the CTGs, completed the lube oil flushes for the CTGs, completed erection and hydrotesting of the HRSGs, set the boiler feed pumps, completed the major piping systems, pulled the majority of electrical cable, and continued terminating electrical cable.

The natural gas supply line to the new site has been completed and blown clean. The buildings have been completed with heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), lighting and electrical service.

Nooter/Eriksen has completed all deliveries of equipment and materials for the HRSG supply contract, and General Electric (GE) completed deliveries of miscellaneous equipment and materials for the combustion turbine generators (CTG) supply contract and the replacement generator for the Steam Turbine Generator (STG).

Startup activities commenced during this reporting period. Power was backfed into the Unit 5 GSU on Nov. 15, 2014, allowing equipment and system checkout to commence. The Distributed Control System (DCS) was energized on temporary power in November as well, allowing checkout of control loops to begin. All electrical gear was checked out and energized in early December and the instrument air compressors were checked out and energized.

In its application for this project, the utility provided a cost estimate for the project of $534.518 million, which it subsequently revised to $531.525 million. In this April 6 report, it used the revised $531.525 million estimate as the “Baseline Budget.”

Noted Xcel on its website about the existing Cherokee coal plant: “Cherokee is undergoing a complete makeover as part of the Colorado Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act. The plan involves shutting down Units 1 and 2, adding a new combined cycle facility, rated at approximately 530 megawatts, by the end of 2015, and converting Unit 4 from coal to natural gas at the end of 2017. Unit 3 will be retired shortly after the new combined cycle facility comes on line.” Units 1 and 2 have already been retired, with Unit 3 (152 MW) and Unit 4 (352 MW) still in operation, at this point.

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.