Power to the people

March 24, 2021 | Kieways 2021 Q1

A 485-megawatt combined-cycle power plant, the first project in a new development, is reenergizing the community of Hannibal, Ohio, and bringing needed power to industrial customers in the region.

Like many small towns across the U.S., Hannibal, Ohio, has struggled with an economic downturn.

Located along the banks of the Ohio River, Hannibal still has not fully recovered from the 2013 closing of a long-time aluminum smelter that at its peak employed about 2,000 throughout the area. The abandoned site stood as a constant reminder of more prosperous times.

But because of a new development on the former site of the shuttered business, today there’s a palpable kind of positive energy in Hannibal — and its first project there is a Kiewit-led endeavor.

The first big step

The team is working on an engineering, procurement and construction contract for the Long Ridge Energy Generation Project.

The 485-megawatt combined-cycle power plant, for which engineering began in October 2018, broke ground in June 2019. Built on about 20 acres of a 1,600-acre site, Long Ridge is the first big step in redevelopment of the community and will provide power to industrial energy users in the region.

The project is unique in that plans are already in the works to convert the new combined-cycle power plant from gas to carbon-free hydrogen. Long Ridge uses a GE 7HA.02 combustion turbine, which can initially burn up to 20% hydrogen. The transition to 100% hydrogen will be accomplished over the next decade.

For Kiewit, Long Ridge is one of several recent gas projects in the Ohio River Valley. It’s expected to be complete this September.

The company’s experience with this type of facility is deep and wide. Kiewit has managed more than 70,000 MW of gas combustion turbine projects, including installation of more than 100 units that use GE technology.

‘Cadillac service’ for the client

It was this kind of familiarity that won over project owner Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure (FTAI), said Mark Barry, program manager for Long Ridge Energy Generation.

“Kiewit submitted an outstanding qualification package, there is no doubt about that. And they had experience with the particular hardware we were buying, knew how to build these projects, and they had a reputation in the industry and a track record they could point to that was second to none.”

The trust the project owner has put in Kiewit for the inaugural job in its new development isn’t something the team takes lightly.

“Being able to rely on a company that has done many, many projects like this successfully, that’s what we brought to the table for them,” said Erich Budde, project manager.

“I think executing on that reputation has been our key focus and ensuring that we are everything they hoped they were signing up for. We want to be sure that we’re providing them that Cadillac service.”

Forging new partnerships

FTAI has given Kiewit the responsibility of developing a turnkey approach to managing the project. For the team, that’s included working with existing jobsite conditions, troubleshooting new solutions and forging new partnerships.

A unique aspect of the project was that the plant is using a water supply from the nearby Ohio River. Not common to every project, this posed an interesting challenge in terms of revitalizing an existing intake structure.

“The previous aluminum smelting facility had some river intake pumps already installed out in the river,” said Mechanical Engineer Cindy Bremer, “so our scope was essentially to replace the existing pumps and run new piping up to the combined cycle.”

Working with a new water treatment vendor was a bit of an unknown.

“It was a little bit of a risk on the design side, but it’s really gone well. We focused on making sure they were successful and understood our requirements and what the hot buttons were,” Bremer said.

Partnering with local trades

Just as Kiewit has earned the trust of project owner FTAI, so has the team earned the trust of local craft, who are primarily from Ohio and West Virginia.

Operations Manager Zack Orsi is originally from Pittsburgh, about 90 miles northeast. The son and grandson of boilermakers, he’s also in the family business.

“My father is still a business agent for the boilermakers out of Pittsburgh,” he said, “so this area that we work in is really close to where I grew up.”

That helped when he began assembling an extensive team of many trades — including operating engineers, electrical workers, sheet metal workers, insulators, boilermakers, pipefitters, ironworkers, bricklayers, millwrights and carpenters.

“It helped really get my foot in the door with the building trades to gain that partnership and for them to understand that I’m there for them as a partner and not an outsider.”

Many of the local trade were familiar with Orsi’s family and his history.

“They instantly knew that this was going to be a successful project, that they were going to have a partnership and someone they could trust and lean on if they had any issues.”

Learning the Kiewit way

Immersing craft in the way Kiewit works day to day has been integral to the project’s success, Budde said.

They get to know the full scope of the project — from how the company’s safety program works to how to adapt to working with a fast-paced EPC contractor.

“The more they know the better,” he said. “So our local tradesmen go to our foremen meetings, as well as the morning meetings and our afternoon coordination, and they get involved hands on, one on one with us.

“We continuously get them involved in our culture and how we do business.”

Budde says he’s most proud of the team’s ability to execute the work efficiently and safely, while creating strong relationships with local businesses, the community, local trades — and, of course, the client.

‘A very open relationship’

The community has witnessed firsthand how high FTAI and Kiewit have set the bar with the construction of Long Ridge, and they’re seeing that the Long Ridge Energy Terminal development may be a harbinger of good things to come.

When it’s online, the facility will employ about 20 permanent staff in operations and maintenance positions and is estimated to generate more than $20 million annually for the state.

Those who have helped construct the Long Ridge Energy Generation Project may find opportunities for work as the development grows.

For now, FTAI likes what it sees in its collaboration with Kiewit.

“We’re very pleased with how the project is being handled,” Barry said. “We like the schedule progress that Kiewit has made. It’s been a project where the owner group and the construction group understand each other, where the communication has been very good.

“And when we’ve had technical bumps along the way, the openness and attention to detail and resolving them has been outstanding. It’s been a very open relationship and it’s something that’s been good for both of us.”


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