New TVA Generating Plant Dedicated; Burns Natural Gas; Was Under Budget
BY JIM BELLER
THE ROGERSVILLE REVIEW
ROGERSVILLE -- "I think it's rather amazing that you could come here and in less than two years, take a flat piece of ground, and now produce 870,880 megawatts of electric power to keep power rates low," Phil Roe says of TVA's new combined cycle gas plant.
The United States Congressman was on hand Thursday as TVA officially dedicated the John Sevier Combined Cycle Gas Plant, which went online April 30.
"I believe that (with) inexpensive power -- we get our own resources in this country, coal, natural gas, wind, solar, nuclear, the whole arnament of it -- that we can re-create the middle class by bringing manufacturing back to this country with what we're doing right here," Roe said.
"My mother was born (Sept. 3, 1922) in Indian Mound, Tennessee," Roe said. "She was 19 before she had electricity. Most people don't remember in the Tennessee Valley what actually happened and what electric power has meant to us.
"The joke around my house that used to infuriate my mother was my dad would say, 'Son, it took me a couple years to teach your mother not to blow out a light bulb. She was used to coal-oil lamps," Roe said.
"We forget what inexpensive power did for rural America, where we lived. It helped us bring jobs, it helped us bring a change in the way of life, the way we lived.
"I visited Afghanistan twice as a congressman and a veteran," Roe said. "Only eight percent of that country has electric power and it's very unreliable.
"When you have an unreliable power grid, you can't manufacture, you can't produce, you can't have economic prosperity."
Bob Deacy, senior vice president, Generation Construction, recognized partners Kiewit Construction and URS Engineering for their work on the project.
"Most importantly, this plant was built by the local trades and laborers, folks from this part of Tennessee, who put in a lot of effort. We couldn't have done it without their skills and their trades," Deacy said.
"I've been on a lot of projects and I've never seen a project built this well that came in 30 days ahead of schedule and well under budget," Deacy said.
"And it has been running consistently since it came into service. I've never seen a project like this in my life."
Tim Hope, vice president, New Unit Services, TVA, which built the plant, compared the cycle gas plant project to a paper machier volcano school project.
"There are simple, infallible rules involved when doing a project," Hope said.
"For any project, you've got to develop a plan, you've got to execute that plan flawlessly to be successful, and you've got to know what success looks like.
"If TVA were giving grades, they would have gotten an 'A.'"
The project was approved in June 2009. "We quickly established a plan, we established a critical timeline of all the activities that needed to be completed," Hope said.
"We knew what the end date and what the budget was. And we knew what success was.
"Success was a state of the art, clean, gas-fired power plant that was built safely, economically, and in a timely manner," Hope said.
Nearly 1,200 employees worked on the project at the peak of the construction. There were no loss-time accidents during the 3.1 million man-hours of work on the project.
Hope also introduced dignitaries in attendance of Thursday's celebration, including Roe, Deacy; Michelle Bloodworth, vice president, State Affairs and Business Development, American Natural Gas Alliance; Bob Dalrymple, vice president, Gas Operations; Congressman and former TVA board member Bill Jenkins; Bill Snodgrass with Roe's office; state Rep. Mike Harrison; Lana Moore with Senator Lamar Alexander's office; Susan Richardson-Williams, former TVA board member; Dr. Mike Browder, essential services; and Jenny Lawson of Holston Electric Co-op.
According to Hope, the project came in $45 million under the $820 million budget at $775 million, and was completed April 30, one month ahead of schedule.
"If you'll recall at that time, it was very hot. Gas prices were almost below $2 at the time, so we were able to produce a lot of power during that month that we weren't even supposed to be ready," Hope said.
"The John Sevier project is 870 megawatts of clean-burning gas power for the customers of the Tennessee Valley.
"It's a continued investment in TVA in Northeast Tennessee, and it's another showcase facility in TVA's gas fleet. It has been nominated for three, international awards."
According to TVA, combined-cycle plants produce 40 percent fewer emissions than traditional coal plants, including half the carbon dioxide, a third of the nitrogen oxide and only one percent of the sulfur dioxide.
Gas is supplied to the site through an 8.5-mile, 24-inch-diameter pipeline built by Spectra Energy and operated by East Tennessee Natural Gas.