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16 August 2015

Ferguson Replacement Project, Texas

Thomas C Ferguson Power Plant is a 40-year-old gas-fired power plant in Horseshoe Bay on Lake Lyndon B Johnson (LBJ) in Texas, US.
The 420MW Thomas C Ferguson power plant in Texas has been replaced with a new 540MW combined-cycle power facility. Credit: Business Wire.
Ground breaking for the Ferguson replacement project was held in April 2012. Credit: Larry D Moore.
The new power plant uses two GE frame 7FA gas turbines. Credit: GE Energy.

Thomas C Ferguson Power Plant is a 40-year-old gas-fired power plant in Horseshoe Bay on Lake Lyndon B Johnson (LBJ) in Texas, US. Built in 1974, the 420MW facility has been replaced by a more environment-friendly, energy-efficient combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant.

The new 540MW facility, named the Ferguson replacement project, was developed by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), a non-profit public utility that provides energy, water and community services to the people of Texas. The City of San Marcos also owns a small percentage of the new power plant.

Ground breaking for the $500m replacement project was held in April 2012 and the project reached substantial completion in August 2014. The new plant was dedicated on 15 October 2014.

New Ferguson plant site details


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The new CCGT power plant is constructed approximately 100 yards from the old Ferguson power plant in Llano County. The site was selected because the existing facility was designed to include additional generating units in future and contains infrastructure such as fuel, water and transmission. A new site would have increased the project cost by up to $70m.

Sustainability of the Ferguson replacement plant

The new combined-cycle natural gas-based power plant is one of the most environment-friendly plants in Texas, requiring approximately 35% less fuel and producing up to 40% fewer emissions per unit when compared with the existing plant. The new plant requires one-third of the water required at a conventional steam plant to generate an equivalent amount of power.

The US Environmental Protection Agency issued the Ferguson replacement project a greenhouse gas permit in 2011 under the new federal rules that require power plants to use advanced technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It was the first project to be issued such a permit.

The new plant’s design has also incorporated fast start and ramping capabilities, as well as ultra-quiet plant operation.

Power plant turbine details

The Ferguson power plant consists of two GE frame 7FA gas turbine-generators with a combined-cycle efficiency of more than 59%.

“The new combined-cycle natural gas-based power plant requires approximately 35% less fuel and produces up to 40% fewer emissions per unit.”

The 7FA gas turbine technology offers more than 59% efficiency in combined-cycle operations and is capable of ten minutes start-up to 50% turbine load. The turbine is able to generate a fast ramp rate of 40MW a minute and can be turned down to 36% of gas turbine base load.

The turbines are manufactured at GE’s Greenville facility in South Carolina, the generators in the Schenectady facility in New York and the control system is developed at the Salem facility in Virginia.

Ferguson plant project development

The project gained approval from LCRA in April 2011 and received air permits from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the US Environmental Protection Agency in November of the same year.

The decommissioning of the old power plant began with its generating unit going offline in September 2013. Demolition works began at the old plant in May 2014 and full decommissioning is expected in 2015.

Contractors involved

Fluor was awarded the turnkey engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the replacement project in November 2011.

GE is the turbine supplier for the new CCGT plant and is also providing installation, commissioning and technical assistance services to Fluor.

ATCO Emissions Management (ATCO) was contracted in October 2012 to design, supply and install the noise abatement system at the new plant.

NCM Demolition and Remediation was awarded the contract for decommissioning the old unit by LCRA. The work includes dismantling the plant, as well as the removal of all equipment and materials. The remediation process includes restoration of the site using clean backfill, topsoil and bluebonnets.

NRI Energy Technology

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