Energy is our job!

July 28, 2014

Gazprom is a global energy Company. It means that generating and marketing heat and electric power is among our major businesses. In this new photo essay we’ll try to acquaint you with this important component of Gazprom’s activities.

At first, let’s figure out the abbreviations.

HPP is a hydro power plant. It uses the power of falling water as the source of electric power. Usually such plants are constructed at riversides, together with dams and water storages.

TPP is a thermal power plant. It generates electric power and heat by burning some fuel – peat, coal, fuel oil or gas. Such plants supply consumers not only with electricity, but with hot water as well.

CHPP is a combined heat and power plant, a type of TPP, which mostly produces not electricity, but heat.

SDPP is a state district power plant (this abbreviation has survived till present days since 1920s, although such plants have not been state-owned for a long time already, servicing not just districts, but the whole regions). SDPP is also a thermal power plant meant for producing only electric power and, as a rule, it produces it on quite a large scale. Today the term SDPP is more and more often being replaced by another term, describing the principle of its operation – condensing power plant (CPP).

Gazprom is the leader of the Russian power market. The Company’s share in Russian power generation accounts for some 17 per cent. As of the end of 2012, we produced 166.9 billion kWh of electric power and 101.1 million Gcal of heat in Russia. The Gazprom Group revenues from selling electric power and heat in 2012 totaled RUB 340.8 billion.

Russian power generation assets of Gazprom Group are consolidated in Gazprom Energoholding, which holds a control stock in Mosenergo, TGC-1, OGK-2 and MOEK. Photo – Pravoberezhnaya CHPP, Saint Petersburg (TGC-1).

All in all, it is over 80 power plants of about 38 GW (electric power) and 71.2 thousand Gcal/h (heat). Gazprom Energoholding is listed among top ten European electric power producers. On the chart – Gazprom Group’s major power generation assets.

We’ll say it at once that Gazprom also works in foreign markets. In December 2013 we finished implementing our major investment project in Armenia – the fifth power generating unit of the Hrazdan TPP was commissioned. It is a state-of-the-art 480 MW gas turbine unit, which, upon being commissioned, allowed Gazprom Group to occupy a considerable share in the Armenian power market. Other promising foreign regions for our power generation business development include Germany, the UK, Turkey and the Balkan states. Photo – the Hrazdan TPP.

But let’s come back to Russia. Since 2007, when the first power generation assets were acquired, Gazprom has turned into a major investor into the Russian power industry. We have already met over a half of cumulative obligations for constructing new power generating facilities we had assumed when entering the power industry (the obligations to commission the power generating projects of some 9 GW aggregate capacity between 2007 and 2016 – which is one-third of the obligations of all Russian investors into power generation – and over 5 GW projects has already been commissioned).

The projects implemented over these years include the commissioning of combined cycle gas turbine units at the Kirishi SDPP in the Leningrad Region (photo) and at the Pravoberezhnaya CHPP in Saint Petersburg. By the way, the 800 MW power unit of the Kirishi SDPP is the most powerful gas turbine unit in Russia. It is the largest power generating facility commissioned in Russia over the past 30 years.

In addition, new hydroelectric units were put into operation at the Lesogorsk and Svetlogorsk HPPs in the Leningrad Region, power units – at CHPP-26 and CHPP-9 in Moscow, the Pervomaiskaya (photo) and Yuzhnaya CHPPs in Saint Petersburg, the Kaliningrad CHPP-2 and the Novocherkassk SDPP.

We’d like to pay special attention to our Olympic project – the Adler TPP in Sochi, commissioned in January 2013. Not only did the plant supply power to the Winter Olympic venues, but it also is of paramount importance for power supply to the Black Sea coast of the Krasnodar Territory. It is a hi-tech generating facility featuring 52 per cent efficiency, 360 MW electric power capacity and 227 Gcal/h heat capacity.

We lead the charge. At present, combined cycle gas turbine units are being constructed at the Serov and Cherepovets SDPPs, as well as at CHPP-12, CHPP-16 and CHPP-20 in Moscow, coal-fired units at the Troitsk and Novocherkassk SDPPs. Photo – the construction site of the 660 MW coal-fired unit at the Troitsk SDPP in the Chelyabinsk Region (this unparalleled unit will be the Russia’s first unit of a kind).

And now in our photo essay we’ll dwell upon one of power projects recently completed by Gazprom – the reconstruction of the Vuoksa HPP Cascade, which is the main power supply source to the Karelian Isthmus of the Leningrad Region.

This project was implemented by TGC-1 between 2007 and 2013.

The powerful river of Vuoksa with a number of rapids has been mastered by Russian and Finnish hydraulic power engineers over a long period of time. The elevation difference between the river head and mouth is 72 meters, that’s why since late 19th century first wooden dams had been constructed here, being the prototypes of modern hydro power plants.

The Lesogorsk HPP – the lowest hydro power plant of the Cascade – was designed and constructed by Finnish engineers between 1934 and 1937. During the World War II it was partly destroyed. Its reconstruction started almost right after the Leningrad Region liberation. The reconstructed HPP was commissioned on December 19, 1945.

The Svetogorsk HPP construction started in the 1930s upon the Finnish design. In 1940, after the Russian-Finnish War, the HPP was transferred to the USSR. It was redesigned and the construction went on. In August 1941 the HPP was occupied by the advancing Finnish troops. Finnish engineers went on with the HPP construction on the Soviet design. In April 1944 first trial runs of equipment were conducted. In 1944 the unfinished HPP was liberated by the Soviet troops, the construction was resumed and the plant was completed in 1947.

According to the veterans, the Finnish operator of the Svetogorsk HPP turned the shift over to his Soviet counterpart, saluted and left the main control room. A new era began.

The HPPs had flawlessly operated for 60 years, supplying power to the Leningrad Region citizens. But sooner or later any equipment becomes overaged and has to be replaced. Therefore, on acquiring the power plants, Gazprom initiated large-scale reconstruction of the Vuoksa HPP Cascade in 2007, which was fully completed in December 2013. Photo – the Turbine Hall of the Svetogorsk HPP before reconstruction.

In order not to shut down the HPP, the decision was made to replace the turbine units one by one (a total of eight turbine units had to be replaced at two plants). Thus, the regional power balance was not tilted, while the power engineers enjoyed the unrivalled experience of installing new equipment without rebuilding the hydraulic engineering facilities.

At first, the specialists dismantled the old equipment. This is what a dismantled hydraulic turbine of the Lesogorsk HPP looks like.

The main function of a hydraulic turbine is to convert mechanical power (power of falling water) to electric power. A hydraulic turbine consists of several parts, the heaviest being the water wheel. Water flows to wheel blades, making it rotate. In this way mechanical power is transferred to the hydraulic turbine generator, which produces electric power.

Unique solutions were applied while installing the hydraulic engineering equipment – new turbine units were mounted into the seats of the old ones, changing the arrangement of turbine flow path.

The number of water wheel blades was also increased from four to five. In addition, a blade turning mechanism was developed especially for this project. As a result, the turbine efficiency substantially increased and its capacity (as compared to the old hydroelectric unit) grew by more than 30 per cent.

First a rotor (a moving part of the generator driven by the turbine) and then a stator (a fixed part of the generator) of each of the new generators were assembled in-situ.

Then the power engineers concreted the stator foundation and installed the gears of the new hydroelectric unit.

The new rotors were installed by an overhead crane.

Installing rotors into the hydroelectric unit stators was one of the most serious stages of work. It required pinpoint precision and minimum tolerances.

That is the way the power engineer crew installed hydroturbine No.4 rotor at the Lesogorsk HPP.

Both Russian and European experts were invited to reconstruct the Vuoksa HPP Cascade. Over 60 people were engaged in instaling the new equipment alone.

The new image of the Lesogorsk HPP Turbine Hall after the installation of the last reconstructed hydroelectric unit.

And this is its twin – the reconstructed Turbine Hall of the Svetogorsk HPP.

Each of the reconstructed hydroelectric units was subjected to idle operation tests with further setting the automatic startup and shutdown system of the unit.

During the pre-commissioning tests each of the generators was connected to the network for testing the rating control system. After that a new hydroelectric unit operated continuously for 72 hours under the rated load.

In addition, a fully automatic plant control system based on Metso DNA controllers was installed at both HPPs during the reconstruction.

The Svetogorsk HPP main control room is the brain of the plant. Evgeny Belikov, the shift boss, is responsible for its uninterrupted operation.

Vasily Pustokhod, Director of the Vuoksa HPP Cascade (right), and Denis Chunin, Head of the Operations Unit, monitor the Svetogorsk HPP equipment operation.

Power engineers say that generator operation may be checked by an ordinary coin. You put it on its edge right at the top of the unit body – if it keeps the balance, everything goes perfectly well. We checked it: the coins stood absolutely still!

The reconstruction of the Vuoksa HPP Cascade increased its capacity by almost one-third – from 184 to 240 MW. The commissioning of the last reconstructed hydroelectric unit – the Lesogorsk HPP turbine – became a real holiday.

On December 18, 2013 Andrey Filippov, Director General of TGC-1, and Andrey Gavrilov, Chairman of the Leningrad Region Committee on Fuel and Energy, led the commissioning ceremony of the turbine unit.

Svetogorsk schoolchildren were the first ones to see the completely renovated Vuoksa HPP Cascade.

The TGC-1 employees arranged an amusing excursion to the Svetogorsk HPP for them. Some kids left the plant with a new dream – to become power engineers.

And in the evening, on the occasion of the reconstruction end, came the celebration featuring a concert, a laser show, a firework and refreshments.

At the holiday Vasily Pustokhod, Director of the Vuoksa HPP Cascade, was given a simbircite – the symbol of ‘new power’. Simbircite is a unique mineral occurring nearby Ulyanovsk only. It is believed to bring along vital energy, eliminate indecision, provide for inner harmony and self-control. There is a good tradition established at TGC-1 to hand the simbricite over to the power plant Director during the startup.

A laser show at the Svetogorsk HPP upper pool was the highest point of the holiday. The building of the hydro power plant served as the screen for the show, which turned out to be colorful and educational – the guests were shown the way electric power is generated, supplied to our houses and influences our everyday life.

And it was not the last surprise. Paying honour to the reconstruction completion, a firework boomed over the waters of Vuoksa. Both children and adults were enchanted by the colourful firework.

The holiday ended and guests left, but the Vuoksa HPP Cascade goes on reliably supplying houses with electricity day by day. This monument near the Svetogorsk HPP will commemorate the great work done.

And the last thing. Gazprom is no stranger to being a leader. And we are fully aware that this position obliges us to always be especially responsible, reliable and efficient, not stopping on our way to the desired goals even for a moment. Therefore, the next-generation power units are already on their way, and they are going to generate their first megawatts and gigacalories very soon. It is going to be like that, because energy is our business.

Ekaterina Anokhina, Yulia Zarubina (TGC-1), Gazprom website Editorial Board

You can find large size images in Photos.