Power Booster

by Thomas E. Rogers, Proj. Dir.; Manchester Street Repowering Project, 2 Franklin Square, Providence, RI 02903,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1995, Vol. 65, Issue 9, Pg. 50-53

Document Type: Feature article


With many utilities caught in a vise between semiobsolete facilities and demands for cleaner power, the $578 million Manchester Street repowering project is setting an example for an aging industry. A large number of U.S. fossil–fuel powerplants are approaching the nominal 30–year threshold age for rehabilitation or replacement. With increasing concerns about the environment and with increasing competition from independent power producers, a number of utilities are considering repowering. The success of the $578 million repowering effort for the Manchester Street Power Plant, in Providence, R.I., could prove to be an added incentive. The owners enhanced the Manchester Street site visually and increased power production from 132 MW to 489 MW, all while realizing a net decrease in emission of most pollutants. Repowering enabled them to revitalize the 50–year–old facility and avoid the environmental impact of starting from a greenfield site. Repowering is the integration of new state–of–the–art equipment with usable existing equipment to boost thermal efficiency, reduce emissions, extend plant service life and minimize environmental impacts. The concept offers utilities several advantages, perhaps most significantly that new land isn't required. Existing plants are centrally located, close to concentrations of customers and transmission and distribution networks. Moving to another location produces many complications. Finally, licensing is usually less complicated, since the already existing plants have achieved a level of local acceptance.

Subject Headings: Power plants | Streets | Existing buildings | Emissions | Environmental issues | Equipment and machinery | Industrial facilities | Rehabilitation | Rhode Island | United States

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