GRE boosting workers at plant siteIn an effort to get as close to its original schedule as possible, construction officials at Great River Energy’s $276 million power plant near Spiritwood are adding another 120 workers. Already at the 500 mark, Dennis Pozarnsky, GRE’s construction site manager, said Friday in a telephone interview that within weeks a total of 620 workers will be on site.
By: Toni Pirkl, The Jamestown Sun
In an effort to get as close to its original schedule as possible, construction officials at Great River Energy’s $276 million power plant near Spiritwood are adding another 120 workers.
Already at the 500 mark, Dennis Pozarnsky, GRE’s construction site manager, said Friday in a telephone interview that within weeks a total of 620 workers will be on site.
“We’re trying to catch up so we’re putting more men on the job,” he said. “The winter and spring impacted us severely and we’re manning up in virtually all the crafts.”
Increasing the manhours will get the exterior work completed before this final winter of construction, Pozarnsky said. Once everything is enclosed and the equipment is in place, the work will focus mostly on wiring. So if all goes well the number of workers will be reduced again starting at the end of October.
“We’re pushing hard before winter comes to get the place enclosed,” he said. “Right now we’re pretty close to the schedule. By winter we want to be on schedule.”
Being on schedule means construction will be completed by the end of March. Following the setbacks caused by winter and spring weather, Pozarnsky and other officials feared they wouldn’t be able to complete construction until June.
“The summer’s been going quite well so we decided to push ahead,” he said.
The only difficulty encountered on the construction site so far this summer is wind. Pozarnsky said using the cranes isn’t safe in winds 25 miles per hour or higher.
Most of the work is centered now on the coal-fired power plant’s boiler building. Much of it is still a mass of steel beams rising nearly 200 feet in the air. Attached to it is an enormous bay that houses an equally enormous turbine. It will take steam from the boiler and turn it into electricity. The nearly 1 million-ton turbine took three weeks via truck getting from Houston, Texas, to the site and is now in place, Pozarnsky said. The generator has also been delivered and set in place.
“The 100-ton steam drum has been lifted into place as well,” he said. “Construction of the main boiler can start now that there’s enough steel up. That drum goes up to the 170-foot level. It will require specialty crews out here to do it.”
When it goes online, the power plant, Spiritwood Station, will be capable of producing 99 megawatts of electricity, with 62 megawatts baseload and 37 peaking. The control systems to make that possible are being delivered in September, Pozarnsky said. Engineers from the GRE headquarters in Maple Grove, Minn., will be here working on them.
“They will start testing the systems and getting them ready for operation,” he said.
Once online, the plant will also produce 555,000 pounds of steam heat per hour, according to GRE. Rather than waste it, the steam will be sold to Cargill Malt and at least one other steam host for use in the manufacturing process. Water to make the steam will be supplied by Cargill’s wastewater and treated wastewater from the Jamestown Wastewater Treatment Plant.
“The Stutsman Rural Water pipeline is under construction and should be done by the first part of October,” Pozarnsky said, of the pipeline from the wastewater plant.
At this point, GRE is ready to start looking for permanent staff for the power plant, he said. Eight are already on site working and 16 more are needed. The jobs include water chemistry, electrical and mechanical maintenance and operations.
“They’ll start right after the first of the year,” Pozarnsky said. “Within the first few months of 2010, we plan to have everybody here.”
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at email@example.com