POWER-GEN Tech Tour: Kissimmee Utility Authority Shows off 740-MW Gas-fired Plant

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Kissimmee Utility Authority opened the doors to its Cane Island gas-fired power plant Monday and let about 65 POWER-GEN International visitors take a look inside. Way inside.

KUA’s team led a technical tour all around the 740-MW Cane Island Power Park, showing its visitors everything from the control room to generators to steam drums and beyond. Three of the units are combined cycle while one unit is used as a gas peaker.

The tour attendees represented companies and some regulators from all over the world but they shared one common theme: They were thrilled to get out of the office and see the power generation sector up close and personal.

“It’s about seeing it in action,” said Jennifer Czajkowski, with Canada’s Department of Environment and Climate Change. “It was interesting to see the doors open on the LM-6000, to see the size of it.

Indeed, KUA needed only one running unit at tour-time Monday, so it was safe to allow a walk-through on the other three units. One of those was the GE LM-6000 turbine used for peaking.

“It’s the same as an engine in a 747,” noted Larry Mattern, vice president of power support for KUA. “It starts up in four minutes and can be completely online in 10 or 11.”

The group toured virtually every major component of the plant, from the water demineralizers to the ignition systems to the cooling towers and control room. In the latter, four employees per shift and supervisor Tim Yelverton oversee every kilowatt of the 740 MW and their experience and versatility is crucialto keeping the system balanced and safe .

“They can write software and go all the way to the instruments,” Mattern said.

Yelverton (pictured above) should have the last word, as he led our group’s tour. He has been with KUA nearly all of its history and is proud of what it achieves with an overall crew of 35 workers.

Cane Island discharges air and water that is cleaner going out then going in, he said. One unit has gotten NoX emissions down to two parts per million.

“Emissions limits are 10 times lower (than when the plant opened 24 years ago),” he said. “The air that comes in is dirtier than the air that goes out. It's cleaner than the highway.”

Thanks to KUA's crew for letting POWER-GEN take a spin around the place.