‘Peaking’ units arrive at PSEG

Photos by Ron Leir


Photos by Ron Leir/ Crane offloads one of three new power units as assembly work continues at sprawling PSEG Generating Station in Kearny.


By Ron Leir

If global warming continues and if next summer brings record-breaking temperatures, PSEG Power will be ready to bring relief.
Last week, the energy company’s Kearny Generating Station on Pennsylvania Ave. off the Hackensack River accepted barge delivery of three electric LM-6000 natural gas-powered generating units.

These units will supplement three similar units previously shipped to the Kearny facility in mid-August.
All six units, which are expected to produce 270 megawatts of power – enough energy to cool 270,000 homes – during peak periods of high demand, are scheduled to begin operating by June 2012, according to PSEG officials.
The new units, utility officials said, will include a “selective catalytic reduction system and water injection” designed to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 90% or better and reduce carbon monoxide emissions by 80% to 85%.
And state-of-the-art cooling technologies will help maintain the unit equipment and deliver power more efficiently and reliably, officials said.
Other energy units similar to those being installed at the Kearny plant are at work at PSEG’s Burlington Generating Station. They can also be found around New York City and its five boroughs and as far away as Iraq.
At Kearny, the so-called “peaking” units will provide power to the PJM (Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland) electric grid, which will distribute the energy as needed, typically when temperatures approach or exceed the high 90s or 100 for days at a time.
A barge hauling the three LM-6000 units arrived at the Kearny facility last Wednesday after a two-week sail from Houston, with only minimal disruption from Hurricane Irene.
Each unit – comprising a 60-ton turbine manufactured in Cincinnati, generator and associated parts – was encased in a big metal rectangular skid enclosed by “shrink wrap” designed to protect against the ocean’s infiltration.
Waiting at dockside for the shipment was another barge fitted with a 300-ton crane operated by Weeks Marine Inc. that lifted each of the units to shore and onto flatbed trailers, which hauled them to foundations dug out of the marshy construction site.
The general contractor on the $255 million project, Ferreira Construction, a highway, road and bridge-building firm based in Branchburg, has completed 85% of the foundation work and related underground excavation to accommodate connections to natural gas pipelines and electrical transmission lines.
At this point, the job is two weeks ahead of schedule, according to Kevin Reimer, PSEG director of projects, despite the contractor’s having had to deal with tidal flows and record rainfalls, not to mention the torrents of water dumped by the hurricane.
Ferreira has deployed a pair of 6-inch diesel pumps to prevent excess water from clogging up the foundations dug for the six LM-6000 units. Joy Lee, the contractor’s project manager, estimates they have pumped out, on the average, between 750,000 and 1 million gallons per day since mid-May.
That water is fed into an on-site treatment system before being released into the river, Lee said.
Nelson Ferreira, owner of the company, knows the territory well. He grew up in Harrison, graduating from Harrison High School in 1985, and three years later, started a curb and sidewalk repair outfit “with a pickup truck and a dream.”
Today, Ferreira operates throughout New York and New Jersey and in Florida. He manages his business from a 42,000-square-foot headquarters in Branchburg and has a $200 million bonding capacity, according to his web site.
In 2009, his company was awarded the first construction contract associated with the ill-fated $8.7 billion New York/New Jersey railroad tunnel project that Gov. Chris Christie killed when he rejected federal transportation funding in the wake of escalating costs.
The Kearny project, however, is moving ahead and is expected to generate more than 300 construction jobs on all phases of the project, officials say.
For safety precautions, each of the new energy units is equipped with carbon dioxide fire protection attachments, and the entire development site will be looped by fire hydrants, said Richard Rebori, Kearny plant manager.
“Everything meets the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) codes,” he said.
Rich Michelfelder, a clinical associate professor of finance with Rutgers University’s School of Business at Camden and an energy consultant said that the “(energy) capacity needs in the United States are starting to get tight” and there is concern “whether or not there’ll be enough renewable energy to meet demands.”
The natural gas-fired units will be “cleaner” than older diesel units and will provide a “lower cost option” by running them for “a few hours when electric demands are high and (sale) prices are the highest,” he said.

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