Taking the Proactive Route for a Win

Anything can happen over the course of a project, at any time, and history has taught us that things change in the blink of an eye.  Taking a proactive approach and being persistent with any job can help mitigate difficulties.  Pursuing a goal can make any project flow butter smooth, allowing one to act, instead of reacting.  That’s how our APCom team handled a project at TransAlta’s Centralia Plant in Centralia, Washington. 

According to TransAlta’s website, the plant is Washington State’s largest baseload power source and has a net capacity of 1,340 megawatts.  The facility is a merchant plant, which means that costs such as environmental upgrades cannot be passed on to customers. TransAlta has invested more than US$300 million in pollution control technology at Centralia Plant, including scrubbers and low nitrogen dioxide burners. Today, the facility is one of the cleanest coal-fired power plants in North America.  Fuel for Centralia Plant is delivered by train from the Powder River Basin in the U.S. Midwest. The plant’s coal unloading facility is considered one of the most efficient and environmentally friendly in North America.


Our team mobilized and began their proactive approach to safety and communications throughout the project.  They had no key issues with safety, and aggressively continued daily tailboard & STA meetings which were not only attended by the craft, but by TransAlta and others on site.  They led weekly outage coordination meeting with all site contractors, and continued weekly one-on-one meetings with TransAlta’s project management team.  Our team used every means as a learning opportunity and shared the lessons learned.

Our APCom Superintendent, Jim Ridings, and Site Scheduler, Mike Goodson led the crew of 20 APCom Boilermakers and one APCom Laborer.  The work scope for this project consisted of air preheater rebuild maintenance, and 9,300 manhours were logged from February through June.  The project included basket installation; installing static, axial, radial and bypass seals; and installing sector plates on APH #21.  The duration of outage was extended, providing benefits which included a 50% reduction in crew size, allowing our team to perform the assigned scope with the most productive and skilled craftsmen.  They were mindful and eliminated OT, moving to a 40-hour work week, resulting in decreased customer costs.  Once again, our team delivered a successful job, exceeding the customer’s expectations.  Congratulations to the entire team for this WIN!