Saturday November 22, 2014


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Unit 3 won't be finished by April 1

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The integrated carbon capture and storage project at the Boundary Dam Power Station is nearing completion, but the rebuild of Unit 3 won't be finished by April 1. (Photo submitted/file photo)

SaskPower has confirmed that the rebuild of Unit 3 at the Boundary Dam Power Station won't be finished before the initial target date of April 1.

The Unit 3 rebuild is an integral part of the integrated carbon capture and storage (ICCS) project at Boundary Dam; the carbon capture island is the other critical component. While the capture island is virtually complete, and into the testing and commissioning phase, Unit 3 has suffered setbacks.

“The power facility is now a matter of getting it done,” said Watson. “It's getting the final inches of piping put in and tested and completed, and you can't hurry it up.”

It's not as simple as getting more people on the job and accelerating the process, Watson said. There aren't any more technical issues, and there shouldn't be any more surprise obstacles.

“With the actual power unit, when we took the old turbine out, we found we had to rebuild the entire base, because the old turbine had been in and working so well, that it just grooved its way into the foundation,” Watson told Lifestyles.

The boiler also had to be rebuilt instead of merely being refurbished.

There was also an asbestos scare at Unit 3 last summer. It proved to be unfounded, but the unit's rebuild was halted while SaskPower ensured that the area was safe for employees and contractors.

A timeline for Unit No. 3's completion hasn't been established, but it won't be ready to produce power and steam within the next month.

The piping has to be completed, and then it has to be tested.

“Then we will get the power unit up and running, then we will run it for a while by itself, then we have to sink it into the grid properly, and then we have to test the steam,” said Watson.

A couple hundred people are now working on the ICCS project. They're fitting and welding the pipes, and they're working on the commissioning of the capture island.

“We're trying to be as efficient as possible in order to get the project completed,” said Watson.

As for the commissioning of the capture island, pipes have been flushed out, and crews have tested the electronics. The process is expected to take a couple months.

SaskPower has instructed the commissioning crews to take a methodical approach to commissioning, so that they don't rush the process.

More than 4 1/2 million man hours have been spent on construction at Boundary Dam, and there haven't been any lost time injuries, Watson said.

SaskPower also continues to move forward with the carbon capture test facility that is under construction at the Shand Power Station. The test facility's vessels are now standing.

“We are already applying lessons on this project that we learned on Boundary Dam (Unit) 3, which is very good, so we don't expect any issues,” said Watson.

Those lessons stem from piping, contracting and design issues, as well as finding the skilled labour that the project requires.

Watson said SaskPower expects that the plant will be operating in 2015.



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