Power Players : Energy Services, Inc. Brings Skill and Flexibility to Energy Projects.
By Chris Petersen for Construction Today
For more than 40 years, Energy Services Inc. (ESI) has provided the engineering and construction knowhow to projects that provide power worldwide, and the company continues to build upon its successes on projects like the recent Exelon Corporation Perryman 6 peaking power generation project in Harford County, MD. According to Executive Vice President, Raul Pereda, the installation of the new FT4000 aero-derivative gas turbine engine was packaged by PW Power Systems and is a prime example of how the company’s extensive expertise and flexibility make it a leading engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm.
Founded in 1974, ESI specializes in gas and steam turbine power generation projects, providing complete services from conceptual design to detailed engineering, equipment procurement, construction, commissioning, training and aftermarket support. The company’s strength lies in power projects ranging from 30MW up to 500MW, and includes working with leading gas turbine manufacturers including PW Power Systems, General Electric, and Siemens/Rolls Royce. The majority of ESI’s projects involve the installation of simple cycle aero-derivative gas turbines, like the Perryman 6 FT4000 project. “The Perryman job was ideally suited for the ESI’s area of expertise and strengths,” Pereda says.
The Perryman 6 project, and others like it, illustrates ESI’s capabilities as a flexible, value driven EPC firm. As Senior Project Manager James Amarel explains, “ESI’s flexibility allows it to tackle projects with a tight timetable and unique specifications.” While ESI is not one of the larger EPC firms in the industry, the company nevertheless is well suited for executing projects like Perryman 6 in a timely and cost-effective manner bringing value to the customer and reinforcing our belief that our tailored approach with a strong emphasis on the customer’s requirements will continue to keep us on the path to success.
Exelon announced plans in 2013 to build a new dual fuel power generation plant with nominally 120MW of capacity at its existing site in Harford County, MD. The FT4000 gas turbine, which can run on diesel fuel as well as natural gas, was packaged by PW Power Systems, a group company of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.
The Perryman 6 project marked the introduction of the 120MW FT4000 aero-derivative gas turbine to the market. Combined with the relatively tight time frame for construction, validation testing, and commissioning meant ESI had to tailor its processes in order to meet the customer’s June 2015 commercial operation date. Not only did the “first-of-its-kind” nature of the project mean a longer than typical installation process, but the validation of the turbines had to be done on-site as well. This required ESI to work with Exelon and PW Power Systems to integrate the gas turbine validation program with the construction activities. As Amarel states, “We typically construct, commission, and turn over the site to the customer. In this case we had to weave an engine development program into our schedule and still meet the customer’s commercial operations requirement.”
Adding to the complexity of the project was the fact that much of the construction had to be done during one of the worst winters in Maryland history. Amarel says the top 10 inches of ground were frozen solid, requiring the use of a demolition hammer to break it up so that construction could take place. Environmental restrictions on the site also meant special care had to be taken to ensure runoff into the nearby bay was managed. For example, bio-swales were used to filter storm water and other runoff and prevent material from the site from being carried into the bay.
Despite the challenges, ESI was able to bring the Perryman project to completion within the fast-tracked schedule, starting construction in July 2014 and commissioning the new generators last June. Amarel says ESI’s design and engineering expertise, coupled with its flexibility and ability to make adjustments quickly, were the keys to success on the project. Enhancing the number of engineers deployed on site made it possible for ESI to work around design issues very quickly. “One of ESI’s strengths is to be able to quickly assess the situation, synthesize the information, and turning around a quick and effective solution to allow the project to stay on track.” Amarel says.
ESI’s ability to provide unique EPC solutions for energy customers has helped the company identify and leverage markets that others may tend to avoid. Pereda says that with demand relatively flat in both the domestic and international markets, ESI has refocused its efforts on searching for and providing customized solutions to customers. For example, the company recently took on a project in Mexico where it is retrofitting existing generation equipment with new, more efficient gas turbines. Although few EPC firms would be willing to take on the challenges and risks of such a project, Pereda says ESI is more than willing to seize that type of opportunity. “It really is a solution that looks at the customer’s situation and asks, ‘How can we improve their operational capabilities and help them maximize their resources?’”
Over the coming years, Pereda says ESI will continue to look for new opportunities in new markets. He predicts the next few years will bring an uptick in demand, but ESI will carefully manage its growth in such a way to be able to preserve its technical skills and continue to provide efficient and effective solutions for its customers. ”The energy market, like all markets, will always be in need of creative solutions. This fundamental tenant will ensure that a flexible and customer focused company like ESI will continue to be successful in the future,” Amarel says.
By Chris Petersen for Construction Today