The We Energies Oak Creek Power Plant is one of the most efficient in the Midwest and therefore is required to be operating with a high degree of up time.  During a recent harsh winter, coal supplies became unreliable and the plant nearly ran out of fuel.  We Energies determined that this type of possible disruptions was unacceptable and the decision was made to construct a new larger coal pile.   Environmental concerns required that the new coal pile would need a state of the art dust suppression system.  Kapur and Associates was contracted to provide the design for this system.  The design includes a water pumping station to provide water to the dust suppression equipment, eight large spray nozzles to water down the coal pile and 6 Dust Boss fogging systems to capture coal dust that might become airborne.

The power system for the equipment includes getting 4160 VAC power from a nearby substation, converting the power via an outdoor transformer to a usable 480VAC power source.  That 480 VAC power is then routed to a state of the art Motor Control Center (MCC).  The MCC has the latest arc flash protection for personnel safety.  The MCC has advance power monitoring providing information on energy use, voltage fluctuations, power quality and wave form analysis all accessible via an Ethernet interface.  Also included is state of the art Ethernet capable Variable Frequency Drives for control the pumps and fused disconnect switches to provide power to auxiliary equipment.

The control system was designed to be compatible with the plant’s Contrologix and Controlnet platform using fiber optic cable to transmitt control messages, converters to get those messages on the Controlnet coax medium and Controlnet bridges to control the 1756 I/O modules.  The system includes a Panelview visualization system at the I/O cabinet to accept operator input at the pump house and is integrated into the overall plant control system for operator input at multiple stations. The control system includes a weather station to measure wind speed and direction that will alert operators to possible high dust situations and algorisms to change the operation of the spray nozzles and Dust Boss systems to maximize the dust suppression efforts.