Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our Aging Power Plants



The blackouts in India remind us of the critical and delicate nature of power grids.  The power grid in the US, feed by aging power plants, is vulnerable to failure too.  Modernizing, upgrading and diversifying existing power plants represent the most basic means of reducing the vulnerability of the grid.  Hardening the grid is another.

Stacked area chart of Current (2010) capacity by initial year of operation and fuel type, gigawatts. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860 Annual Electric Generator Report , and Form EIA-860M (see Table ES3 in the March 2011 Electric Power Monthly)
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The image above and the article linked below highlight the fact that a large portion of the power plants in the US are over 30 years old.

Refurbishing existing power plants and or building new ones represent great opportunities for advocates of IPD, BIM and lean processes.  Utility companies should be keenly interested in leveraging these new tools to bring new and better power plants online.

The spike in natural gas power plants is significant as well.  As other countries tap their natural gas resources they will want new gas fired power plants as well.

Coal remains the fuel of choice in India and China, and the modernization of coal fired power plants in those countries should be a top agenda item as well.



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James L. Salmon, Esq.
Collaborative Construction
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