Spalding Power Station Opens New Control Room
For first time, team is under one roof
Spalding, Lincolnshire (UK) – If a power plant is a body, then you might say that the control room is a power plant’s brain. This complex center with its intricate monitors, indicators and instruments is where InterGen operators make important and quick decisions about fuel, megawatts and output.
So 18 months ago when Spalding Plant Manager Dave Pickering decided to move the control room, he knew it would be a tricky endeavor. After all, the center dated back to 2003 and although it had been upgraded over the years, it was situated some 400 meters away from the administration building.
“Between putting on PPE (protective personal equipment) and walking up a flight of stairs, there’s always been a physical barrier and added time to get back and forth to the control room. The timing was right with the new investments in the advanced gas path and the OCGT (open cycle gas turbine) project to bring the control room into the offices,” Pickering said.
Still, it wasn’t easy convincing the Spalding operators to make the change. “The guys weren’t sure it made sense to move. Actually they were all against it,” he said.
From the start, Pickering wanted to involve them in the planning and decision making to help deliver something they were happy with. “Our Rocksavage plant did the same move a couple of years ago, so I asked the guys to go visit and ask the ops staff about what they liked about their new control room, which they did.”
Spearheaded by Joe Whitmore, control and instrumentation engineer at Spalding, the blueprints were produced and the ops staff voiced their concerns. Their feedback was incorporated into the final plan. “With support from the team, Joe applied a number of innovative solutions to keep costs within budget and the project delivery within the original timeframe,” Pickering said.
On December 13, the team officially opened the new 80 m2/861 square feet operations center. Four offices were knocked down to open up the space now equipped with new monitors, computers, servers, desks, chairs and a glass partition. “The end result is a control room to be proud of,” Pickering said. “It’s brilliant to have everyone all in one room in sight, and the ops team will feel more part of everything rather than be separated in another building. People are loving it and wearing smiles.”
The administrative offices also received a face lift with new paint, carpeting, glass-fronted walls and an upgraded kitchen area.
Pickering concluded, “This is a great milestone and a proud moment for the Spalding team as it finally brings us all under one roof for the first time.”