Supporting the Transition to Cleaner EnergyAccording to the International Energy Agency, by 2040, world demand for energy may climb by 30 percent. Cleaner forms of energy, such as natural gas, nuclear, and renewables, will comprise an increasingly significant share of the energy mix to support this growing need. In 2015, Bechtel delivered projects that produce low- or zero-carbon energy to millions of homes and businesses around the world.
“Taking innovative approaches in design and technology have enabled Bechtel teams to deliver projects that address cost and climate issues.”John Gülen Senior principal engineer, Bechtel
Generating zero-carbon power
Nuclear energy is the only zero-carbon baseload technology—capable of producing electricity at full power, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of the weather. In 2015, Bechtel delivered the Watts Bar Unit 2 nuclear reactor for the Tennessee Valley Authority, in the United States. It is the first reactor to receive authorization to operate from the U.S. government in the 21st century. Now operational, Unit 2 joins the facility’s existing unit to generate nearly 2,300 megawatts of clean, carbon-free electricity—enough to power 1.3 million homes and businesses in the Tennessee Valley. An equivalent amount of energy generated by burning coal would emit 8 million tons of carbon dioxide every year.
Saving water, lowering emissions
We are designing and building some of the world’s cleanest natural gas power plants for Panda Power Funds. Using the most advanced emissions-control technology, the 1,124-megawatt Hummel Station, in Pennsylvania, will supply power to more than 1 million homes—almost triple the supply of the coal facility it replaces—using only 3 percent of the amount of water. In comparison, it will also cut sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 90 percent.
In Texas and Virginia, Bechtel built plants that will power 3 million homes but emit half the carbon emissions of equivalent coal-fired electricity. Sherman, Temple I, and Temple II combined-cycle power plants will each provide 758 megawatts, while Stonewall will generate 778 megawatts.
Harnessing a river to power homes
In Manitoba, Canada, a Bechtel-led team continued work in 2015 on the Keeyask Generating Station and Infrastructure project. When finished, Keeyask will supply 25 percent more energy to the province and power nearly 400,000 homes with renewable energy. Keeyask is one of the largest hydroelectric plants in North America and will harness the power of the Nelson River, Canada’s fourth-longest river, running 1,600 miles (2,575 kilometers).
Using innovation to reduce carbon and cut costs
Although the projected share of renewables in the global energy mix is expected to grow, fossil fuels such as natural gas will remain a significant source for electricity generation around the world (according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration). Bechtel currently has a patent pending for the efficient removal of carbon emitted from gas-fired power plants. Our two technological innovations reduce the power lost in capturing carbon by almost 65 percent, while also lowering overall capital cost by more than 30 percent. Our innovation uses exhaust heat to produce steam and simplifies the entire system.