Lessons from Fast Track Gas Turbine Generators Control System Retrofit Project

by | Mar 21, 2018 | Control & Safety Systems, Industry, Power Generation

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Editor

Earlier this week, we shared how integrated control systems connected with turbine generators and other associated process areas, can improve overall efficiency and reliability for electrical power producers.

Continuing on this theme, a Combined Cycle Journal article, Checklist for success: NV Energy commissions seven turbine DCSs in seven weeks, highlighted a fast track gas turbine retrofit project covering two sites:

…SPGS [Sun Peak Generating Station] was justified on the basis of adding remote operation; the LVGS [Las Vegas Generating Station] retrofit was justified to improve and automate transitions in and out of SPRINT mode.

Emerson’s Felipe Londono


Emerson’s Felipe Londono led the project management for the Emerson project team including the design, configuration, installation and commissioning of the Ovation distributed control system for the seven gas-turbine (GT) control systems.

The Emerson project team performed both as a subcontractor at one of the sites and as the lead contractor at the other site.

The project leader for NV Energy shared several lessons learned for this fast track retrofit project:

  • Carefully review all instrumentation relevant to the retrofit
  • Clarify each participating group’s capabilities and experience
  • Pay attention to the soft-hard interface
  • Focus on the graphics
  • Know your air permits before starting the project
  • Check out motor and other critical component specifications prior to testing
  • Trust, but be in a position to verify

Relative to the first point on instrumentation:

Many project issues stemmed from a lack of instrumentation expertise on the acquisition due-diligence team which led to the controls retrofit project team being unaware of important instrumentation issues… Plants often “live” with marginal instrumentation. The larger point here is that existing instruments will exhibit varying degrees of compatibility with a state-of-the-art DCS.

On the soft-hard interface:

…Emerson did a really good job delivering the “soft” product—that is, writing the logic and building the graphics. Wiring the existing plant components to the new DCS equipment was not so straightforward. At LVGS, there was no one who could actually install the new gear, so it had to be hired out. A third-party contractor had to make sure everything was properly wired. The project team found numerous instances of “duct tape” solutions with the existing equipment which had to be remedied to hook up the new controls.

Read the article for additional insights on the other lessons learned that you might apply to your next fast track project. These insights were shared by NV Energy’s project leader at the 2017 Ovation Users Group conference.

If you’d like to gain insights from peer members in the power, water and wastewater industries and from Emerson Ovation DCS experts, register for the July 29-August 2, 2018 Ovation Users Group Conference and/or participate in the Power , Water & Wastewater and Ovation groups in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.