L-92 completes work on Otay Mesa generating project

Local 92 members erect stacks in front of the HRSGs they are building at the new Otay Mesa Energy Center in Southern California.

Power plant is first to be built in San Diego County in almost 30 years

NEARLY 100 MEMBERS of Local 92 (Los Angeles), along with 20 Boilermakers from neighboring lodges, have completed 26 months of work at a new generating project in San Diego County, Calif.

Working for Boilermaker contractors ARB Inc. and Barton-Malow, the members erected two gas turbine generators, each with its own heat recovery steam generator (HRSG); two air-cooled condenser units; and a single steam turbine/generator at the new Otay Mesa Energy Center, located 1.5 miles from the U.S./Mexico border in southern California.

According to ARB superintendent Joe Chubbuck, material deliveries posed problems for the Boilermaker crews while they were erecting the HRSG units. Key components arrived late and out of sequence, thus altering the standard erection procedures.

“These delays required more innovative erection methods to be implemented to avoid scaling back crews, slowing down the project, and extending completion to a later date,” explained Chubbuck, a third-generation Boilermaker. “But the Boilermakers met the challenge and did what was required by careful planning and teamwork.”

Crews were required to move back and forth between projects — a necessity to keep the work moving. They also had to coordinate with other crafts in order to hit key project milestones.

Chubbuck said, “This was all done with speed and efficiency in a safe manner. There were no lost-time accidents, and a zero percent reject rate on all ASME Section I X-ray-required welds.”

ARB Vice President Larry Jansen expressed his thanks to Local 92 for the supervision and manpower supplied to this project. “In these difficult economic times, owners and contractors need to receive the highest value and return on their investments in order to survive,” Jansen said. “The Boilermakers of Local 92 provided just that — a well-trained, highly-productive work force. With a weld reject rate that was the lowest on site, very little absenteeism, and excellent overall productivity, the members dispatched proved to be crucial to our success on this project. We look forward to working with Local 92 again in the near future.”

The 500-megawatt Otay Mesa Energy Center, a natural gas, air-cooled power plant owned by Calpine Corp. of Houston, is expected to begin operations this fall. It is located within a 46-acre property on the remote eastern portion of Otay Mesa, near the base of the San Ysidro Mountains. The plant will be fueled with natural gas and contain state-of-the-art emission control equipment, making it one of the cleanest plants in the country.