Colorado Bend Energy Center
Wharton, Texas, United States
Client: Navasota Energy Partners LP
Parsons Brinckerhoff Role: Design
The Colorado Bend Energy Center, a 550-megawatt power plant that began full operation in 2008, was developed at a time when a potential seasonal shortfall of power was forecast for the Houston area - demand was increasing while utilities were decommissioning some of their older, less efficient plants. Parsons Brinckerhoff began fast-track design of the plant in January 2006, providing civil, structural, and mechanical and electrical engineering; instrumentation design; and equipment procurement.
The natural gas-fired, combined cycle plant was put into commercial operation in 2007 at 225-megawatt capacity, and was expanded to 550-megawatt capacity by the following year. The plant operates during periods of peak demand, and innovative design solutions were required to meet the rapid start-up requirement. For example, the plant was designed with a stack damper, which keeps the heat recovery steam generator in a warm standby condition when off line. The plant includes a full steam turbine bypass to allow the combustion turbine generator and heat recovery steam generator to come up to full load independent of the steam turbine generator. During commercial operation in the summer of 2008, the Colorado Bend Energy Center ran substantially more than originally planned to meet the demand for electricity, producing power 12 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week.