Power Plant Consulting Experience

Sterling Energy has provided advice and identified solutions on a very wide range of business, technical, and operational issues. We have considerable experience with nearly every type of power plant in every phase of development.

Many of our consulting engagements are summarized below. Click on the any of the links to learn more about our conventional and renewable energy experience.

Conventional Technologies – Gas, Oil, Coal:

Policies and Standards Review and Development for California IPP
Situational Assessment of SDG&E’s Power Plants and Asset Management
Management Support for Constellation Power Generation
Governance Assessment for Owners of Two 1,700 MW Coal Projects
Plant Manager for 625 MW Combined Cycle Facility

Strategic Options, Business Plan and Cost Model for 600 MW Utility Coal Plant
California IPP Bids to PG&E, SCE and SDG&E
O&M and Economic Assessment of Hospital Cogeneration Facility
Audit of Fuel Management Processes for 600 MW Coal Plant
Development Support for a Proposed 500 MW Combined Cycle Project in Chile

Evaluation of Development of Offers to Participate in MISO Merchant Market
Electric Utility Operations and Maintenance Management Assessment
Assessment of Troubled Cogeneration Plant on the East Coast
Energy Supply Options for Alumina Facility in Jamaica
Twenty Industrial Energy Savings Assessments for U.S. Department of Energy

Economic Assessment of Potential Cogeneration Plant Acquisition for Sempra
Maintenance Benchmarking Study for Caribbean Electric and Water Utility
Development Support for a Proposed 350 MW Power Barge Facility in Panama
Assessment of 15 MW Power Plant in Dominican Republic
Training Program Review and Development for 600 MW Coal Plant

Utility Interconnection Request for California Combined Heat and Power Plant
Interconnection Process Management for 550 MW Combined Cycle Facility
Generation Assessment and Plan for an Electric Cooperative
Strategic Assessment of Options for Coal-Fired Cogeneration Facility
Development of Two Gas-Fired Projects in Southern California

Development Support for Coal Gasification Development Company
Merchant Plant O&M Assessment
Cogeneration Plant Management in Canada
Staffing Assessment for City Owned Combined Cycle Plant
Service on the Review Board for ANSI Energy Management System Standard

Cogeneration Facility Assessment for Large Commercial Property Owner
Energy Savings Assessment at a Synthetic Natural Gas Plant
Operational Risk Assessment at a 500 MW Combined Cycle Facility
Operational Risk Assessment at a 600 MW Combined Cycle Facility

O&M Cost Benchmarking Study for a 2,600 MW Fleet of Combined Cycle Plants
O&M Cost Benchmarking Study for a 477 MW Combined Cycle Plant
O&M Management Review at Merchant Plant in Central America
O&M Management Audit at Merchant Plant in the Caribbean
O&M Management Review at Two Merchant Plants in the Caribbean

Variable O&M Costs for a Coal Plant Pollution Control Retrofit
Contingency Operations Plan during California Wildfires
Power Supply Options Study and Fuel Procurement Advice for Industrial Facility
Energy Cost Management Program for University Cogeneration System
Project Management for Water System at Cogeneration Plant

Project Management for Cogeneration Plant Expansion
NERC Reliability Standards Compliance Review for Two Cogeneration Plants
Development of NERC Standards Compliance Program for Seven Plants
O&M Assessment and Turnaround at Troubled Merchant Plant in Mexico
O&M Management Assessment at a Combined Heat and Power Plant

CMMS Transition and Implementation for Gas Storage and Transmission Assets
Owner’s Representative for the Sale and Transfer of Stored Power Equipment

Renewable Technologies – Wind, Solar, Biomass, Hydro, and Geothermal:

Wind Energy Experience
Assessment of Renewable Energy Opportunities for a Water Utility
Management Audit of Two Large Utility-Owned Wind Farms
Performance Review of Four Large Wind Projects
Turbine Procurement and Project Execution Support for a 25 MW Wind Project
Wind Project Repower Program Evaluation and Planning

Wind Project Asset Management Development Program
Wind Project Asset Management and Performance Improvement Assessment
Wind Project Business Model and Feasibility Assessment
Wind Project Valuation and Sales Evaluation
Wind Developer / Turbine Supplier Aftermarket Operating Services Assessment

Wind Project Operating Project Removal Assessment
Western State Wind Project Transmission Assessment
30 MW Wind Project Feasibility Assessment
Development, Transmission and Permitting Assessment – 1,500 MW Wind Project
Mexican Wind Project Bid Preparation

Corporate Wind Program Development
Southern California Water District Wind Power Feasibility Assessment

Solar Energy Experience
Development Support for Two Large California Solar Projects
Project Proposal and Development Support for 250 MW Solar Project
California Energy Commission Application Support for Large Solar Project
Development Support for Combined Cycle Plant Utilizing Solar Thermal Power
Development Support for Large Thermal Solar Power Plant

Large Solar Thermal Power Facility Strategic Assessment
Operating Contract Review for Southern California Solar Thermal Projects
Strategic Assessment of Southern California Solar Thermal Projects
Development of O&M Cost Estimate for Thermal Solar Developer
Feasibility Assessment for Solar Thermal Project

Biomass Experience
Strategic Assessment and Turnaround of California Biomass Projects
Assessment of a Biogas Project under Construction in Colorado
Interconnection Process Management for 30 MW Biomass Generation Facility
Biomass and Wind Project Advisory for a Large International Timber Company
Operations & Maintenance Reviews of Three Biomass-Fired Power Plants

O&M Assessment for Large Biomass Plant in California
Landfill Gas Operations Assessment
Biofuels Technology Company Investment Evaluation
Biodiesel Project Due Diligence
O&M Assessment and Turnaround Plan at 40 MW Biomass Plant

Transmission Interconnect and Other Development Support for a Biomass Plant
Development Support for Biosolids Gasification Process and Power Plant
Audit of PPA Energy Prices for a Florida Biomass Plant
Owner’s Representative for the Resurrection of a Troubled Biomass Facility

Cogeneration Plant Assessment for California Municipality
Project Management Support for a Biodiesel-Fired Cogeneration Plant

Hydro Experience
Establishment of NERC Standards Compliance Program for Hydroelectric Plant

Geothermal Experience
Review of Capital Spares Budget for 50 MW Geothermal Facility

Conventional Technologies – Gas, Oil, Coal:

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Policies and Standards Review and Development for California IPP
Sterling Energy reviewed the existing policies and standard operating procedures for an IPP that had grown from an owner / operator of two small peaking plants to an investor and contract operator of more than 1,200 MW of gas-fired peaking facilities. Although the company’s operations had grown in both scale and scope, its policies and standard operating procedures (SOPs) were outdated, cluttered with unnecessary information, and unclear with regards to accountability. In a second phase of the engagement, Sterling developed a full suite of new policies and standards that are aligned with the company’s current operations and are suitable for continued growth.

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Situational Assessment of SDG&E’s Power Plants and Asset Management
Sterling performed a Situational Assessment of San Diego Gas & Electric’s power plants and asset management programs. The assessment consisted of meetings with generation and plant staff, visual observations, and review of SDG&E asset and plant management documents. The assessment included visits to SDG&E’s Desert Star, Palomar, Cuyamaca, and Miramar power plants. Assessment findings were compared to a set of target expectations that we believe represent where a well-managed organization should be in terms of management practices.

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Management Support for Constellation Power Generation
Sterling Energy has worked with Constellation Power Generation (CPG) and its non-nuclear power plant fleet since early 2003. Constellation operated a large fleet of combustion turbine, biomass, coal, synthetic fuel, geothermal, and hydroelectric plants.

Our engagements with Constellation have included:

  • Conduct an organizational assessment of CPG given significant factors such as geography, marketing, technologies, and positioning for growth. A number of options were presented to CPG management outlining the benefits of each option. The current organizational structure reflects the results of this effort. Sterling Energy continues to support the CPG Senior Leadership Team with advisory services.
  • Construction completion, startup, and initial operation risk assessment of the 830 MW High Desert Power Plant (HDPP) facility. This high profile plant located in California was of significant value to CPG (it was later sold). Sterling Energy had numerous other engagements at the HDPP supporting their organizational development.
  • Organizational assessment and improvement plan for two biomass plants and one coal-fired plant
  • Transition management assessment and plan for one coal-fired and one natural gas-fired combined cycle plant
  • Mock due diligence to prepare plant personnel for the successful sale of six facilities
  • Strategic assessment and turnaround recommendations for two biomass plants
  • Assessment, preservation, and relocation of gas turbine generator and balance of plant equipment
  • Guided the establishment of the NERC generator owner (GO) and generator operator (GOP) reliability standards compliance program for seven plants
  • Led the situation assessment of a regional business unit comprised of 17 units totaling 3,600 MW. Identified significant process improvement needs for the business, need clarification of expectations and roles and related accountabilities. The team’s recommendations were accepted and implemented.

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Governance Assessment for Owners of Two 1,700 MW Coal Projects
Sterling assessed governance issues for the eight owners of two 1,700 MW coal plants representing approximately $1B in annual revenue. Sterling participated in Owners Committee meetings, interviewed each of the plant owners and managers of the project company, and visited both facilities. Sterling identified significant issues related to the role, function and leadership of the Owners Committee. As a result, the Owners elected a Chairman with clear roles and responsibilities, retained a Chief Operating Officer, established a Board of Directors and implemented a contemporary business planning process.

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Plant Manager for 625 MW Combined Cycle Facility
Sterling provided a Plant Manager for Sempra Generation’s 625 MW combined cycle plant in Mexicali for a period of six months. His responsibilities included all operations, business, and environmental aspects of the plant. The manager initiated a complete review and revision of all policies and procedures. In addition, the manager mentored the O&M Manager in order to prepare him for the successful transition to plant manager.

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Strategic Options, Business Plan and Cost Model for 600 MW Utility Coal Plant
Sterling was engaged by an investor owned utility to identify issues and develop schedules related to two options – biomass conversion and retirement – for a 600 MW coal plant. Our engagement included the development of a multi-year Business Plan. The need for a comprehensive Business Plan triggered a review of the plant’s variable operating costs and its performance characteristics. The then current costs were outdated and incomplete. Sterling developed a new variable O&M cost model and worked with the plant manager to develop tests to confirm the new assumptions across the plant’s load range. The review of performance characteristics initiated by Sterling led to an increase in rated output, an increase in ramp rate, and a decrease in minimum load.

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California IPP Bids to PG&E, SCE and SDG&E
Sterling played a major role in the re-contracting effort for two gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plants. Over an 18-month period Sterling developed 12 offers in response to RFOs from California utilities. Our effort included development of comprehensive economic models and offer forms in response to four RFOs from three utilities using three different PPAs, both CHP and tolling agreements. We developed offers for the plants as existing facilities, repowered facilities, and conversions to LM6000 facilities. One of the two projects was re-contracted. For that project we were the client’s representative and managed the interconnection process and negotiation of the Interconnection Agreement with CAISO and PG&E.

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O&M and Economic Assessment of Hospital Cogeneration Facility
Sterling performed an O&M and economic assessment for the cogeneration facility at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego. The work was done in two phases. The objectives of the first phase of the assessment were to:

  • Quantify the economic benefit of the cogen facility.
  • Identify potential opportunities to improve operation of the cogen facility.
  • Estimate major maintenance and capital cost requirements and develop a multi-year budget.

Sterling reviewed available documentation, visited the site, met with the contract operator, and developed economic estimates for cogen facility operation, major maintenance, and capital improvements. Sterling also audited the contractor’s performance relative to the terms of the O&M agreement.

The second phase of the project was a detailed economic assessment of the short and long-term costs of operating with and without the existing cogen facility. The scope of the economic assessment included operations, maintenance, capital, commodity, and utility cost estimates for the Cogen and No Cogen scenarios. Sterling reviewed historical utility data, met with hospital management and the O&M contractor, and corresponded with SDG&E regarding loads and rates. Sterling also developed an hourly and multi-year economic model to evaluate the Cogen and No Cogen cases.

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Audit of Fuel Management Processes for 600 MW Coal Plant
The owners of a 600 MW coal-fired power plant engaged Sterling to audit its management and accounting methods in an effort to identify causes of discrepancies between physical and book inventory values. Sterling audited the relevant physical and book processes, including:

  • Coal procurement
  • Rail transportation
  • Receiving and analysis
  • Coal consumption
  • Daily, weekly, and monthly reporting
  • Coal stockpile surveys
  • Reconciliation calculations

Sterling identified the source of the main discrepancy in inventory values and also identified several process improvement opportunities. Sterling also developed a new plant procedure for managing and reporting coal shipments, receipts, and consumption.

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Development Support for a Proposed 500 MW Combined Cycle Project in Chile
Sterling was engaged by an international consortium to develop an operations and maintenance performance and cost model and a summary level O&M mobilizations and operations plan for a proposed 500 MW combined cycle power generation project in northern Chile.

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Evaluation of Development of Offers to Participate in MISO Merchant Market
Sterling Energy led the effort to evaluate and update cost and performance assumptions used by a Midwest utility to bid its units into the MISO day-ahead and real-time markets. Sterling’s scope included development of a “product catalog” template to capture accurate cost, performance and emissions data for each unit in the fleet. Sterling facilitated the identification and needs of all product catalog users – operations, finance, and marketing – and identified persons with outcome responsibility for data accuracy, update frequency and dissemination. Sterling and the client worked with a pilot plant, a 240 MW coal unit, to refine the product catalog process and template, and to enter current information. This effort changed long-held assumptions regarding unit variable operating costs which, in turn, affected the bidding of the plants into MISO.

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Electric Utility Operations and Maintenance Management Assessment
Sterling Energy performed an O&M management assessment of the production and distribution facilities and organizations at a privately-owned electric utility in the Caribbean. The facility had grown from a tiny, two-engine operation to a 31 unit facility serving 27 resort hotels. The utility’s management systems had not evolved as the system grew and, as a result, there were significant reliability, efficiency, and management issues. Sterling Energy performed a comprehensive management, operations, safety, and economic assessment. We developed a turn-around plan and identified a significant fuel savings opportunity associated with engine performance and economic dispatch.

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Assessment of Troubled Cogeneration Plant on the East Coast
Sterling was engaged by a law firm representing the buyer of a reciprocating engine cogeneration plant on the East Coast. Our scope included a physical assessment of the equipment, a comprehensive review of operations and maintenance records and a comparison of those records to the O&M recommendations of the original equipment manufacturers. In addition, we developed an equipment preservation and storage plan.

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Energy Supply Options for Alumina Facility in Jamaica
Sterling assessed a range of energy supply options aimed at lowering production costs at a large alumina facility in Jamaica. Our scope included an assessment of the facility and related transportation infrastructure, a review of various coal, oil, and gas-fired options, and the development of an economic model.

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Twenty Industrial Energy Savings Assessments for U.S. Department of Energy
A Sterling Energy principal performed energy savings assessments for the U.S. Department of Energy at 20 large industrial facilities. The plants included pulp and paper facilities, chemical plants, beet sugar refineries, an ammunition plant, food processing facilities, and the world’s then largest brewery. The assessment scope included the development of a plant-specific energy and economic models, training of plant and corporate staff on assessment tools and models, and the identification of cost-effective energy savings opportunities.

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Economic Assessment of Potential Cogeneration Plant Acquisition for Sempra
Sterling developed an economic model to help our client better understand the magnitude of the potential upside and downside opportunities associated with the operation of a combustion turbine based cogeneration facility on the East Coast.

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Maintenance Benchmarking Study for Caribbean Electric and Water Utility
Sterling assisted a confidential client in a desktop Plant Maintenance Assessment and Benchmarking Study for an electric and water utility in the Caribbean.

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Development Support for a Proposed 350 MW Power Barge Facility in Panama
Sterling reviewed and commented on draft contracts related to the operations and maintenance of a proposed 350 MW dual fuel power barge facility to be located in Panama.

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Assessment of 15 MW Power Plant in Dominican Republic
Sterling performed a technical and economic assessment of a three-unit 15 MW reciprocating power plant installed in an industrial facility in the Dominican Republic. We were engaged to help the client determine the plant’s technical and economic performance characteristics and determine the suitability of the plant in the merchant market. Our scope included a physical inspection, performance tests, correspondence with the manufacturer, and development of an O&M budget including fixed and variable operating costs. 

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Training Program Review and Development for 600 MW Coal Plant
Sterling reviewed and overhauled the training program at a 600 MW utility coal plant.  Our scope included a review of the overall program including personnel, procedures, materials, facilities, and reporting. Our deliverables included a total refresh of training materials and procedures. We also developed and implemented new management tools for tracking and reporting training and trainee progress against goals. In addition we presented training sessions designed to remedy weaknesses identified in the original training program.

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Utility Interconnection Request for California Combined Heat and Power Plant
Sterling developed and submitted to CAISO an interconnection request for a 45 MW LM5000 combustion turbine CHP project in Southern California.

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Interconnection Process Management for 550 MW Combined Cycle Facility
Sterling was the client’s representative for the interconnection of a proposed 550 MW combined cycle facility in California. The project was intended to provide flexible ramping capacity to mitigate the intermittent nature of wind energy resources in the Tehachapi area. Our role included the creation of an overall project development schedule and budget, the preparation and submittal of the interconnection request, review of cluster study results, and serving as the client’s representative in meetings and correspondence with CAISO and SCE.

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Generation Assessment and Plan for an Electric Cooperative
Sterling Energy performed a comprehensive assessment of new generation options for a fully integrated electric cooperative. A comprehensive list of new generation options was prepared, evaluated and recommendations made. An annual hourly dispatch model was developed for assessment of the options. We estimated the costs for development, construction and operations. In addition, we developed the construction RFP and solicited construction bids. The client subsequently developed and commissioned the combustion turbine option recommended by Sterling Energy.

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Strategic Assessment of Options for Coal-Fired Cogeneration Facility
Sterling Energy developed and evaluated a range of strategic options for a coal plant subject to increasing regulatory pressures and the upcoming expiration of its PPA. Sterling’s scope included the assessment of several options including biomass co-firing, conversion to natural gas, using solar PV generation to offset, during daylight hours, some coal-fired generation, and conversion to a gas-fired cogeneration facility. Sterling also evaluated a proposed carbon sequestration pilot project. As part of its assessment of options, Sterling met with the plant’s steam host and evaluated their steam supply options, which enabled Sterling to estimate a range of values for the current cogeneration facility.

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Development of Two Gas-Fired Projects in Southern California
Sterling Energy was retained by Shell Energy to perform the turnkey, greenfield development of two gas-fired power projects in response to the California Energy Commission’s emergency request for peaking power. The 94 MW Larkspur Energy Facility in San Diego consists of two GE LM6000 Sprint dual fuel combustion turbines and was the first to be licensed under the California Energy Commission’s emergency siting process. The 138 MW Indigo Generation Facility consists of three GE LM6000 Sprint gas turbines and is located in North Palm Springs.

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Development Support for Coal Gasification Development Company
Sterling Energy provided development support to a leading developer of Integrated Coal Gasification (IGCC) projects in the United States. Our scope included identifying and screening sites, reviewing technology and providing advice and recommendations to the client. The initial efforts focused on screening dozens of potential sites for two sites with ready rail access combined with a wholesale electric market that could support the projects.

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Merchant Plant O&M Assessment
Sterling Energy performed an O&M management assessment aboard a 150 MW heavy-fuel reciprocating engine-based power barge in the Caribbean. Sterling Energy developed a plan to help the owners operate the plant successfully upon the expiration of the O&M contract. Sterling continues to provide periodic O&M advice to the client.

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Cogeneration Plant Management in Canada
Sterling Energy managed the combined heat and power plant at Ford Motor Company’s Windsor, Ontario engine plant. Sterling developed a comprehensive energy and economic model of the facility that enabled Sterling to identify significant energy savings opportunities. As a result, Ford saved more than $2 million in the program’s first year.

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Staffing Assessment for City Owned Combined Cycle Plant
Sterling performed a staffing assessment for a municipally owned 160 MW two-unit combined cycle plant.

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Service on the Review Board for ANSI Energy Management System Standard
A Sterling Energy principal serves on the review board for the development and subsequent update of the ANSI standard MSE 2000: A Management System for Energy. The standard, developed by Georgia Institute of Technology’s Energy and Sustainability Services, contains both technical and management system elements to help organizations control and reduce energy costs and energy-related environmental impacts. It is the first energy management standard in the world, and is the energy management equivalent of well-known standards ISO 9001 for quality management and ISO 14001 for environmental management. The standard was incorporated into the ISO 50000 series of energy management standards.

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Cogeneration Facility Assessment for Large Commercial Property Owner
Sterling Energy assessed the contracts, economics, and technical performance of a troubled gas-fired cogeneration facility located in a large commercial office tower.

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Energy Savings Assessment at a Synthetic Natural Gas Plant
A Sterling Energy principal performed an energy savings assessment at an SNG plant adjacent to a refinery. The assessment scope included the identification of energy savings opportunities, an economic evaluation of power supply alternatives, and an evaluation of the risk – and possible risk mitigation measures – associated with the current power supply. The study identified $700,000 in annual fuel savings with a payback of less than one year.

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Operational Risk Assessment at a 500 MW Combined Cycle Facility
A Sterling Energy principal facilitated an operational risk assessment at a 500 MW combined cycle plant in response to a series of unit and plant trips triggered by certain operations and maintenance activities. The team used a failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) tool to identify and evaluate operational risks and potential risk mitigation options, and to communicate the results and recommendations to senior management.

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Operational Risk Assessment at a 600 MW Combined Cycle Facility
Sterling Energy facilitated an operational risk assessment at a 600 MW combined cycle plant in response to a series of unit and plant trips triggered by certain events. Sterling presented and trained plant staff on the use of a failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) tool. The team used the tool to identify and evaluate operational risks and to identify and evaluate potential risk mitigation options.

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O&M Cost Benchmarking Study for a 2,600 MW Fleet of Combined Cycle Plants
Sterling Energy performed an O&M cost benchmarking study for the owner and operator of a 2,600 MW fleet of combined cycle plants. Sterling’s study, which compared the client’s plants to nine confidential plants, focused on costs driven by operations management practices.

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O&M Cost Benchmarking Study for a 477 MW Combined Cycle Plant
Sterling Energy performed an O&M cost benchmarking study for the owner and operator of a 477 MW combined cycle plant. Sterling’s study compared the client’s plant to twelve confidential plants in the area of operations management practices.

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O&M Management Review at Merchant Plant in Central America
Sterling Energy was engaged by plant owners to perform an O&M management audit of a recent acquisition in Central America. The 55 MW facility included reciprocating engines operating on heavy fuel oil. The plant provided energy and capacity into an open, cost-based market. Sterling benchmarked the plant’s O&M management methods against industry best practices across a range of O&M management topics. Sterling identified many near- and medium-term opportunities to improve the operations, maintenance, and management of the facility.

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O&M Management Audit at Merchant Plant in the Caribbean
Sterling Energy was engaged by plant owners to perform an O&M management audit of a recent acquisition in Caribbean. The 124 MW facility included two power barges equipped with reciprocating engines operating on heavy fuel oil. Sterling benchmarked the plant’s O&M management methods against industry best practices across a range of O&M management topics. Sterling identified 22 specific opportunities to improve plant heat rate and a range of other operations, maintenance, and management opportunities aimed at improving the company’s bottom line.

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O&M Management Review at Two Merchant Plants in the Caribbean
Sterling Energy was engaged by plant owners to perform O&M management reviews of two merchant plants – one steam and one diesel – in the Caribbean. Sterling benchmarked the plant’s O&M management methods against industry best practices across a range of O&M management topics. The reviews also benchmarked the organizations against the desired development of a project as it progresses from start-up to maturity. Although Sterling identified several opportunities for incremental improvement, both Sterling and the owners were pleased to note that both plants were well-managed.

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Variable O&M Costs for a Coal Plant Pollution Control Retrofit
Sterling Energy developed a comprehensive variable O&M cost model for the retrofit of scrubbers and SCRs at an existing four-unit, 1,250 MW coal plant for a utility in the Midwest. The model calculated the retrofit’s impact on parasitic load, net plant output, net plant heat rate, and variable operating costs.

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Contingency Operations Plan during California Wildfires
Sterling Energy was called in by the local utility to develop a contingency plan for an island operating mode when wildfires threatened the utility’s transmission line links to other utilities.

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Power Supply Options Study and Fuel Procurement Advice for Industrial Facility
Sterling Energy reviewed a range of power supply options for the San Diego Union Tribune newspaper. After studying the client’s load profile, fuel pricing, the existing combustion turbine, and additional unit options, we analyzed six different scenarios and presented the client with the least cost option. As part of the study we also identified opportunities to reduce peak demand while maintaining plant capacity and throughput. In addition, we identified an additional savings opportunity related to fuel procurement. We implemented the fuel procurement strategy and managed it for the client for several years.

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Energy Cost Management Program for University Cogeneration System
Sterling Energy developed an energy cost management program for a large university in the West. The university’s plant included two combustion turbine cogeneration facilities producing both electric energy and steam. Our scope included the technical and economic characterization of a number of supply scenarios, analyses of hourly and annual system loads, and an analysis of utility gas and electric prices. We developed an economic dispatch model that identified the optimum, low-cost operating scenario for a given set of loads and energy prices.

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Project Management for Water System at Cogeneration Plant
Sterling Energy provided to plant owners a project manager to oversee the design, construction, and testing of a distilled water plant following the exit of the steam host at a gas turbine cogeneration plant in California. Water from the plant, which was needed in order to meet the PURPA efficiency standard, is sold to a third party user. The project was completed on schedule and prior to the FERC deadline.

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Project Management for Cogeneration Plant Expansion
Sterling Energy provided to plant owners a project manager to oversee the construction and testing of a new combustion turbine and heat recovery steam turbine at an existing cogeneration plant in Canada.

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NERC Reliability Standards Compliance Review for Two Cogeneration Plants
Sterling Energy reviewed the compliance with NERC’s generator owner (GO) and generator operator (GOP) reliability standards at two cogeneration plants in the West. Sterling’s scope included a review of the existing program, development of recommendations, and a follow-up review of the plants’ implementation of Sterling’s recommendations.

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Development of NERC Standards Compliance Program for Seven Plants
Sterling Energy developed the NERC reliability standards compliance program for a fleet of seven plants. Sterling’s scope included a gap analysis, development of program procedures and documentation, and the training of plant and corporate personnel. In addition, Sterling conducted internal readiness audits.

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O&M Assessment and Turnaround at Troubled Merchant Plant in Mexico
A Sterling Energy principal performed a management, operations and maintenance assessment at a troubled, contract-operated merchant plant in Mexico. The assessment included the development of a project cash flow model, an economic dispatch model, plant performance measures, and the identification of a number of O&M cost savings opportunities including plant heat rate and fuel procurement process control. The work scope also included interviewing plant manager candidates and the on-site technical and commercial training of the new plant manager.

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O&M Management Assessment at a Combined Heat and Power Plant
Sterling Energy performed an O&M management assessment at a large, coal-fired combined heat and power plant serving a U.S. military base in a cold weather region. Sterling benchmarked the plant’s O&M management methods against industry best practices across a range of O&M management topics. Sterling provided recommendations regarding management systems and provided advice and tools regarding key performance indicators and plant performance.

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CMMS Transition and Implementation for Gas Storage and Transmission Assets
Sterling Energy provided the support and management required to ensure a successful transition from one Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) to another for an investor-owned gas utility in the Southeast. Sterling provided the guidance necessary to ensure all current data and O&M practices were relevant for existing equipment, preventive maintenance, and inventory. Sterling managed and supported the data transition process to ensure new CMMS modules were implemented according to business requirements of the client.

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Owner’s Representative for the Sale and Transfer of Stored Power Equipment
Sterling Energy effectively represented our client during the sale of stored power plant equipment. Sterling provided practical insight to develop the inspection process and documentation necessary to satisfy both our client and the buyer. We provided on-site leadership and direction during the inspection period to ensure all tasks were completed within the established schedule according to the executed Purchase and Sales Agreement. All equipment was inventoried, inspected, and maintenance practices confirmed for both the client and buyer.

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Renewable Technologies – Wind, Solar, Biomass, Hydro, and Geothermal:

Wind Energy Experience
Assessment of Renewable Energy Opportunities for a Water Utility
Sterling performed a two-phased assessment of renewable energy opportunities on the islands of Maui and Hawaii. Phase 1 included a desktop study of 41 potential wind, solar, and pipeline energy recovery opportunities at seven locations. The study’s scope included preliminary resource assessments (wind, solar, pipeline), project economics, and a fatal flaw review. Phase 2 included site visits, refined resource assessments and detailed economic assessments of two high potential solar projects identified in the Phase 1 screening assessment.

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Management Audit of Two Large Utility-Owned Wind Farms
Sterling performed a management audit of two troubled utility-owned wind farms totaling over 700 MW. Our scope included in-depth one-on-one interviews of the entire operating staff at both facilities.  The work also included a review of management structure, style and effectiveness.  Sterling identified significant opportunities for improvement and presented them to utility senior management.

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Performance Review of Four Large Wind Projects
Sterling Energy was engaged to assess recent performance at four Sempra wind projects totaling over 1,000 MW.

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Turbine Procurement and Project Execution Support for a 25 MW Wind Project
Sterling Energy was retained to develop procurement requirements and to support the evaluation of bids and the negotiation of wind turbine supply agreement for a 25 MW wind project in Alaska. Sterling also provided project execution support and advice.

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Wind Project Repower Program Evaluation and Planning
Sterling Energy performed multiple repowering evaluation scenarios of the 164 MW Green Ridge power assets in the Altamont Pass area of California. We developed detailed repowering plans for each scenario.

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Wind Project Asset Management Development Program
A Sterling Energy principal developed the asset management program for the 18 MW Tierras Morenas wind project in Cost Rica.

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Wind Project Asset Management and Performance Improvement Assessment
Sterling Energy performed asset management program assessment and project performance improvement review for the 100 MW Le Nordais wind project on the Gaspe Peninsula in the Province of Quebec, Canada.

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Wind Project Business Model and Feasibility Assessment
Sterling Energy developed project a business model and performed a feasibility assessment for an 85 MW wind project in the western U.S.

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Wind Project Valuation and Sales Evaluation
Sterling Energy performed a project valuation of a 5 MW wind power project in the Great Plains. We also developed an offering memorandum for the project assets and evaluated potential sale proceeds.

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Wind Developer / Turbine Supplier Aftermarket Operating Services Assessment
Sterling Energy performed a complete assessment of the aftermarket operating service business of a major wind developer and turbine supplier. All aftermarket activities including maintenance, operations, parts, and other service products were evaluated and recommendations provided.

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Wind Project Operating Project Removal Assessment
Sterling Energy performed a wind turbine generator removal, scrap, and sales assessment for two projects totaling 30 MW of generation. The assessment was a key consideration in a strategic assessment of project options by the wind project’s owners.

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Western State Wind Project Transmission Assessment
Sterling Energy performed a transmission availability and cost assessment for a proposed 200 MW wind project in the western U.S. The project included an assessment of the potential paths – both physical and contractual – from the project to target markets. The effort resulted in recommendations in order of priority for least cost transmission capacity for the project.

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30 MW Wind Project Feasibility Assessment
Sterling Energy developed a feasibility assessment for a greenfield 30 MW wind project in the Northwest. The assessment focused on meteorological data, transmission, site access, equipment transportation, arctic operations and economic viability. A more recent engagement on the same project resulted in a detailed development and business plan.

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Development, Transmission and Permitting Assessment – 1,500 MW Wind Project
Sterling Energy performed an independent assessment of development assumptions and the transmission and permitting plans for a 1,500 MW wind project development in southern California.

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Mexican Wind Project Bid Preparation
Sterling Energy led the development of a bid for a California utility request for proposals. The large wind project, located in Mexico’s Baja California area, was being developed by a European client.

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Corporate Wind Program Development
A Sterling Energy principal assisted a major Nordic country generation company in a wind power development program planning effort. The project scope included the identification and wind monitoring of near-term developable sites and a complete assessment of wind power potential on the national level. As a result, a client-specific wind project development program totaling over 1,100 MW was developed. The scope also included a wind turbine technology evaluation.

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Southern California Water District Wind Power Feasibility Assessment
Sterling performed a feasibility assessment for wind power associated with a Southern California water district.

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Solar Energy Experience
Development Support for Two Large California Solar Projects
Sterling Energy provided the project developer with critical support during the successful development and power contracting phases of the 130 MW Imperial Solar Energy Center West and 180 MW Imperial Solar Energy Center South facilities.

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Project Proposal and Development Support for 250 MW Solar Project
Sterling Energy led the proposal effort for a 250 MW solar photovoltaic project in Southern California. Sterling also performed site feasibility assessments, procurement RFPs and evaluated alternative technologies.

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California Energy Commission Application Support for Large Solar Project
Sterling Energy led the development of the CEC permit application process for a large 500 MW plus photovoltaic project located in California.

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Development Support for Combined Cycle Plant Utilizing Solar Thermal Power
Sterling Energy evaluated EPC options and negotiated EPC scope for a 600 MW proposed combined cycle plant that will utilize 50 MW of steam produced in an adjacent solar thermal facility and injected into the plant’s HRSGs. Sterling’s scope included the evaluation of EPC bids, negotiation of EPC scope and terms, and the integration of the power island, balance of plant, and solar field EPC contracts. Sterling also evaluated and provided advice regarding project schedule, site control and interconnection issues.

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Development Support for Large Thermal Solar Power Plant
Sterling Energy provided development support for a large solar thermal power developer. Sterling’s scope included site identification, resource assessment, fatal flaw analysis, and support regarding the acquisition of development rights. Additional services included review of transmission access issues, a review of technical and operational issues, and the development of a mobilization and O&M budget. The project has a purchase power agreement and is under development.

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Large Solar Thermal Power Facility Strategic Assessment
Sterling Energy, teaming with Investment Management Advisors, was retained to conduct an operational and business strategic assessment of a solar thermal power business consisting of five 30 MW plants. The team evaluated alternative operating and maintenance, financial, contracting and other strategies to maximize value for the investors in the facility. The team made recommendations for action that were implemented by the investors.

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Operating Contract Review for Southern California Solar Thermal Projects
Sterling Energy reviewed for project owners the operating contract for five 30 MW solar thermal projects in southern California.

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Strategic Assessment of Southern California Solar Thermal Projects
Sterling Energy performed for project owners a strategic assessment of five 30 MW solar thermal projects located in southern California. The engagement included the development of multiple operating, business and technical options for the facility.

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Development of O&M Cost Estimate for Thermal Solar Developer
Sterling Energy prepared a comprehensive operating and maintenance estimate for a large power tower solar thermal project developer.

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Feasibility Assessment for Solar Thermal Project
Sterling Energy performed an assessment of a project opportunity for an international solar thermal energy project developer. The engagement included an assessment of the site and the solar resource, identification and evaluation of system integration issues, exploration of land lease and power purchase terms and issues, and identifications of other issues related to the local utility.

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Biomass Energy Experience
Strategic Assessment and Turnaround of California Biomass Projects
Sterling Energy performed a strategic assessment of the Rio Bravo Fresno and Rio Bravo Rocklin 25 MW biomass plants. We categorized and performed root cause analyses of performance problems, developed an economic model that identified fixed and variable costs, reviewed the fuel procurement process and history, and solicited and evaluated options related to boiler improvements. Our recommendations included a combination of boiler improvements and the implementation of an “effective cost of fuel” management program. The owners made the investments that we recommended and engaged us to oversee certain aspects of the turnaround plan at one plant. As a result, that plant’s capacity factor reached an all-time high in the following year and remains well above its pre-assessment average.

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Assessment of a Biogas Project under Construction in Colorado
Sterling assessed contractual and management issues related to a biogas project under construction in Colorado. Our project scope included the review of relevant contracts and progress reports, interviews with stakeholders, participation in site visits and monthly construction project meetings, and the presentation of findings and recommendations to the senior management of our client, an international renewable energy company.

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Interconnection Process Management for 30 MW Biomass Generation Facility
Sterling was the client’s representative for the interconnection of a proposed 30 MW biomass generation facility in California. Our role included the preparation and submittal of the interconnection request, review of study results, and serving as the client’s representative in meetings and correspondence with CAISO and SDG&E.

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Biomass and Wind Project Advisory for a Large International Timber Company
Sterling was retained by a large international timber company to provide advice regarding biomass and wind project development. Sterling’s scope included the evaluation of various participation alternatives for the projects and general management advice.

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Operations & Maintenance Reviews of Three Biomass-Fired Power Plants
Sterling Energy conducted annual operations and maintenance reviews of three California biomass projects for a major IPP. The audits focused on management practices, staffing issues, forced outages and lost generation incidents, recent inspections and repairs to the steam turbine generators and other major equipment, inspection reports, spare parts inventory, long-term major maintenance plans, the annual operating and maintenance plan, monthly production reports, and O&M budgets and actual expenses for commercial operations period.

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O&M Assessment for Large Biomass Plant in California
Sterling Energy performed an operational assessment of the 47 MW Colmac Biomass project located in southern California. The report identified a number of opportunities to improve the plant’s technical and economic performance.

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Landfill Gas Operations Assessment
Sterling Energy performed an operations assessment of a 9 MMSCFD landfill gas-to-pipeline gas plant in the Gulf Coast area. Sterling identified opportunities to implement plant performance measures and to develop meaningful management reports to identify and quantify performance improvement opportunities.

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Biofuels Technology Company Investment Evaluation
A Sterling Energy principal evaluated for a potential investor a proposed investment in an early stage biofuels technology company.

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Biodiesel Project Due Diligence
Sterling Energy performed a due diligence assessment of a proposed investment in a 2.6 million gallons per year biodiesel project.

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O&M Assessment and Turnaround Plan at 40 MW Biomass Plant
Sterling Energy was retained to review operational and maintenance issues impacting reliability at the Sanger Power and Feed Plant, a 40 MW of electricity and 30,000 tons per year of feed facility. The Sterling Energy team evaluated all plant processes, from fuel handling through electrical generation. A prioritized action list was developed and changes implemented resulting in a substantial improvement in plant reliability and performance.

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Transmission Interconnect and Other Development Support for a Biomass Plant
Sterling Energy provided guidance regarding interconnection and transmission issues, prepared and submitted the project’s interconnection application to the CA Independent System Operator, and met with the local utility regarding this biomass power plant development. In addition, Sterling prepared and submitted to the California Energy Commission the biomass power project’s application for precertification as a renewable power source.

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Development Support for Biosolids Gasification Process and Power Plant
Sterling Energy developed a mass, energy, and economic model of a proposed integrated biosolids (sewage sludge) gasification process and power generation facility.

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Audit of PPA Energy Prices for a Florida Biomass Plant
Sterling was engaged by the owners of a14 MW biomass power plant in Florida to audit the monthly energy price derived from the local cooperative.

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Owner’s Representative for the Resurrection of a Troubled Biomass Facility
Sterling Energy advised the owners regarding the rehabilitation of a troubled biomass power generation plant in California. Our scope included an analysis of the fundamental business proposition and advice regarding the scope of the restoration. We approved, on the owner’s behalf, restoration expenditures and we recommended equipment repairs and changes based on findings during the project. As the station re-entered commercial operation, we provided a senior manager with extensive experience in biomass plants to augment the owner’s management team.

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Cogeneration Plant Assessment for California Municipality
Sterling Energy performed a technical and economic assessment of a biogas-fired cogeneration facility at a wastewater treatment plant in California. The scope included an assessment of the plant’s useful life, the development of a cogeneration system economic model, and an evaluation of alternative approaches and technologies. As a result of the study, the city was able to eliminate a large capital project. Sterling also identified an opportunity to reduce pilot gas consumption, thus improving the cogeneration plant’s economics.

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Project Management Support for a Biodiesel-Fired Cogeneration Plant
Sterling Energy was brought in to take over certain aspects of a troubled biodiesel reciprocating engine cogeneration project already under construction. Sterling directed the final stages of construction to get the project back on schedule and redesigned the fuel system so the plant could burn 100% biodiesel. In addition, Sterling managed the plant startup, set up a system for managing contentious warranty claims, and advised the client on the renegotiation of the steam sales agreement.

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Hydro Energy Experience
Establishment of NERC Standards Compliance Program for Hydroelectric Plant
Sterling Energy developed the NERC reliability standards compliance program for a hydroelectric plant in the west. Sterling’s scope included a gap analysis, development of program procedures and documentation, and the training of plant staff. Sterling also conducted an internal readiness audit.

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Geothermal Energy Experience
Review of Capital Spares Budget for 50 MW Geothermal Facility
Sterling Energy was engaged by investors in a new 50 MW geothermal power plant to review and comment on the adequacy of the proposed budget for capital spares.

Read more about our management and technical consulting services.

For more information please contact Dave Morgan or Ron Fawcett.

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