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Central Wyoming Powerplant Brings New Generating Capacity

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Photo courtesy of Sargent and Lundy LLC
Dry Fork is a mine-mouth station that uses low-sulfur Powder River Basin coal, a significant resource for the local economy.
Photo courtesy of Sargent and Lundy LLC
The project had to meet stringent environmental standards, with all air emissions minimized through state-of-the-art technology and controls.
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2012 Best Project

Industrial/Manufacturing Category

Dry Fork Station

Gillette, Wyo.

The $1.35-billion Dry Fork Station is a 420-MW greenfield, coal-fired powerplant built in the heart of Wyoming coal country. Dry Fork is a mine-mouth station that uses low-sulfur Powder River Basin coal—a significant resource for the local economy.

The plant is located a mile from the mine, allowing the coal to be transported continuously via enclosed conveyors and stored in silos, thus eliminating a coal pile, which can be a significant source of particulate emissions.

The project had to meet stringent environmental standards, with all air emissions minimized through state-of-the-art technology and controls. The allowable emission rates are very low and controlled in short durations, measured only in hours, which requires the equipment and systems to operate continuously with high reliability.

Design challenges included complying with stringent emission limits, including no allowance for start-up and shutdown in the computations, variable characteristics of the fuel and restricted water usage. All wastewater is put to use in the plant, which is designed to be a zero-discharge facility. Water use was further minimized by using an air-cooled condenser.

The contractor worked to minimize the impact on the surrounding community while assembling a skilled work force in a sparsely populated area with limited local experience in building a facility of this size.

Also, many new coal-fired plants were being built at the same time as Dry Fork Station, which compounded the difficulties in attracting companies with the resources and experience to execute quality work within a reasonable budget.

The plant was designed to add reliable and economical generating capacity to help meet the needs of the 134-member cooperative systems of the Basin Electric Power Cooperative and Wyoming Municipal Power Agency.

Thus far, the Dry Fork power station has proved to be extremely reliable. The plant has been able to operate 98.5% of the time as needed.

Key Players

Owner: Basin Electric Power Cooperative/Wyoming Municipal Power Association, Bismarck, N.D.

Designer: Sargent & Lundy LLC, Chicago

General Contractor: Basin Electric Power Cooperative/Sargent & Lundy LLC, Chicago

Civil, Structural & MEP Engineer: Sargent & Lundy LLC, Chicago

Entry submitted by Sargent & Lundy LLC

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