Power at High Speed

21 September 2001

Black & Veatch has completed total engineering, procurement and construction work on a 20 unit diesel generator project in Washington, with the first unit being brought on line nine weeks. A diesel generator project of this type typically takes up to 18 weeks before going on line.

The accelerated timetable was started by projected critical Columbia River flow levels brought on by this year's drought in the Pacific Northwest. This was very important to Grant County because Priest Rapids Dam and Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River, owned by the utility, are the primary local power production sources.

The Public Utility District No 2 of Grant County, a consumer-owned electric utility serving more than 40 000 retail customers in the Grant County area, has invested $27 million in the purchase and installation of 20 diesel generators. Black & Veatch was retained to meet an in-service date before the summer peak. Working on an aggressive schedule, the firm went from a first meeting with the District to first unit operation in nine weeks by working a 12 hour, six day a week construction schedule.

The station consists of 20 Caterpillar generator sets, each rated at 1.6 MW (continuous), installed on a 10 acre site near the Moses Lake airport. The new generation will be used to level out expected electrical load and market price spikes brought on by this year's volatile electric market. Any surplus power will be marketed elsewhere.

Caterpillar was responsible for start-up, testing and commissioning.

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