Unique Services: Flood of 2008 – Temporary Standby Generation for local Utility

During the catastrophic 500 year flood that occurred in June of 2008 in eastern Iowa, Alliant Energy suffered the loss of two coal-fired power generating facilities in the city of Cedar Rapids, IA representing in excess of 250 MW of generation. With the heat of the summer ahead, concerns turned to voltage stability and the ability of the utility’s damaged infrastructure to handle forecasted peak electrical loads. Regional grid collapse was a concern. Alliant Energy turned to Industrial Energy Applications for the solution to both problems.

In conjunction with local equipment suppliers, contractors and utility engineers, IEA developed a solution that involved the installation of temporary generators at four local substations. Ultimately, IEA coordinated the installation of 57 MW of standby power consisting of twenty one, two (2) megawatt diesel fired power modules at three Alliant Energy substations (8 units each at two substations, 5 at the third), and an additional 15 MW of gas fired combustion turbines (3 x 5 MW) installed at a fourth substation. IEA conducted a nationwide search to identify and procure necessary equipment within a period of less than two weeks. IEA also worked with the local Public Health agency to secure required environmental permits on an emergency basis.

IEA worked with Alliant Energy substation engineers to deploy the equipment and connect it to new 15 KV circuit breakers installed at each substation. IEA managed the start-up and testing of each group of standby generators. IEA coordinated the installation of required 480/12.5K step up transformers, three (3) 12,000 gallon double walled diesel fuel storage tanks, and a new high pressure gas main to provide fuel to the three five MW Turbines.

All of the temporary generators had to be capable of remote dispatch. IEA worked with vendors and contractors to develop and install the control system interconnections necessary to allow connection to the Utility Company’s Generation Dispatch Center (GDC). The GDC was responsible for determining when temporary power would be dispatched. IEA developed operating procedures and provided necessary electrical documentation to the Utility to facilitate the coordination of startup of each of the four facilities between on-site personnel and GDC operators.

Following startup, IEA provided ongoing surveillance testing, fuel inventory management and maintenance for the temporary equipment. Later, IEA also managed the decommissioning and disposal of the equipment.

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