The power of the people
Bogue Generation Expansion Project Team back row, from left Rohan Lindsay, Kondike Messam, Marvin Campbell, Judene Weir, Tesfaye O'Sullivan, Sefas Harriott front David Cook, PMP
BY KELLEY HUNSBERGER PHOTOS BY DEVON SHAW
2005 PROJECT OF THE YEAR FINALIST BOGUE GENERATION EXPANSION PROJECT
Jamaica was dark in 2001.
The country hadn't made any significant investments in its power supply over the previous decade, and major blackouts were a recurring problem. Generating units were old and contained a power reserve below acceptable standards. And the strain on the system would only get worse with Jamaica's electricity demand growing at an annual rate of four percent, according to sales records tracked by the Office of Utilities Regulation.
Foster communication and clearly define roles for each team member to ensure that everyone works to their full potential.
Building partnerships and pooling resources can help a company meet environmental goals.
For smooth turnover, allow future operation teams to play key roles throughout the project's life cycle.
In May of that year, the Kingston, Jamaica-based Jamaica Public Service Co. Ltd. (JPS) and its parent company, Mirant Corp., Atlanta, Ga., USA, fast-tracked the Bogue generation expansion project. The two-cycle effort was to supply the public, the project's key stakeholders, with a reliable power source. The $120 million project would provide 120 MW in additional generator capacity. Designed to be up and running quickly, the first phase supplied 80 MW of power through two turbines at its completion in October 2002; the remaining 40 MW came via an additional steam turbine when the second phase was finished in October 2003.
“This particular project was critical in the eyes of the public and the country,” says David Cook, PMP, JPS project manager.
Workplace violence became a problem for leaders early on in the Bogue project. “In Jamaican culture, unfortunately, people tend to be a bit violent,” says David Cook of Jamaica Public Services. “We have a very aggressive culture. There is a great need for people to get jobs.” Project managers soon realized that this violence, combined with the worker's frustrations over the pay rate their union representatives had negotiated for them, would lead to work stoppages, slowdowns and strikes.
The project leaders identified key objectives to ensure workplace harmony and better communication. “We were all committed to a mutual sense of self-respect,” Mr. Cook says. Key elements of the plan included:
- Zero tolerance for workplace violence and safety infractions
- Individual responsibility for preventing or stopping strikes, work stoppages and slowdowns
- Compliance with a strict project plan
- Clear communication of issues and progress to the project stakeholders
- Personnel accountability for their performance
- An open communication channel for workers to express their concerns.
Trying to minimize workplace accidents and injuries, project leaders also initiated a safety incentive program. Every month, the company held a drawing offering money and small prizes, and only those who maintained a stellar personal safety performance were eligible.
The new plant was built on about 18 acres of cane fields and swamp just outside a major tourist center in Montego Bay. During the expansion project, the team made a number of improvements to the existing facilities, including:
- Purchase of land to accommodate future expansions
- Construction of a bridge and drain
- Implementation of new fuel, treatment and storage systems
- Construction of a new administration building and distributed control system to facilitate the plant already on site
- Creation of an extensive water-treatment facility to make use of effluent waste water.
Because Montego Bay is one of Jamaica's biggest tourist destinations, it's an important source of revenue for the government. Given that, the project team had to turn the plant into an environmental example that not only met, but exceeded, all of the emission and noise quality requirements. Team members worked closely with contractors to ensure control over hazardous substances and emissions and invited Jamaican governmental agencies to routinely tour the site.
To facilitate both the heating and cooling processes of the plant, JPS needed a large amount of water, so it joined forces with Jamaica's National Water Commission (NWC). “This was a major environmental achievement because it was the first time that NWC and JPS were actually partnering to save the water resources of the country,” Mr. Cook says.
Cost of Phase I & Phase II
Cost of Station Improvements
Project manager David Cook (second from left) led the Bogue expansion project team, which won multiple awards for its efforts to address Jamaica's power problem.
The NWC Sewage Treatment Facility is opposite the power plant. A pipeline was built between the two facilities, allowing effluent water to be brought to JPS, micro-filtered and stored in a 500,000-gallon water tank on site. “In Jamaica we have never reused sewer effluent,” Mr. Cook says. “We actually saved that water resource.”
Bumps Along the Way
In the early stages, the project suffered from clearance delays because the customs office was unaccustomed to dealing with such heavy traffic of goods, says Roberto Rodoero, start-up manager for the Bogue project. “Not being in the habit of receiving so much construction material and equipment, custom officers were treating every single item in the same way, with an incredibly long processing time,” he says. “The beginning was really difficult, but getting to know their system helped us to understand what to do.”
Tropical storms and hurricanes could have resulted in shipping and construction delays for the Bogue expansion. Throughout the project's life cycle, the management team took steps to counteract the potential for storm setbacks.
During nonrainy periods, double shifts were scheduled, and employees often would work from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. The management team also kept a detailed log of rain days and work time lost.
Although no hurricanes hit during the project, two tropical storms resulted in two- to six-month delays. “Heavy tropical rains did affect site conditions and underground work significantly because of the abundant clay in the soil,” says Mirant Corp.'s Loren Monty.
To help prevent the delays, the team established a task force dedicated solely to receiving materials. Far in advance of the arrival of goods, documentation was organized and sent to the JPS office dealing directly with Jamaican customs. “One of our employees was always present at the goods’ arrival to help custom officers associate the documents with the proper material or equipment and to open boxes and crates if they needed to be,” Mr. Rodoero says.
THE BEGINNING WAS REALLY DIFFICULT, BUT GETTING TO KNOW [THE CUSTOMS] SYSTEM HELPED US TO UNDERSTAND WHAT TO DO.
Start-up Manager, Bogue Generation Expansion Project,
The project took another hit at the start of its life cycle when the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor was terminated due to its inability to obtain a financial bond. JPS was forced to self-manage construction and take on all of the business risks associated with the project. The company also had to engage subcontractors and suppliers directly.
Because the two project managers from Mirant and JPS possessed different areas of expertise, each took on specific duties tailored to their talents to help things run smoothly after the EPC contractor was terminated. “This was a little bit nontraditional,” Mr. Cook says. “It worked very well. Of course, the key component was communication. There were tense times when we had to sit down and iron out differences, but the project was better for it. We were both willing to learn and understand each other's strengths and weaknesses.”
Early into the plant's expansion, the team realized that an efficient handover was critical to the project's overall budget and schedule. To make sure that the local operation team could effectively run the plant on its completion, the project team leaders developed an owner's operations team. These employees participated in routine construction walk-downs and quality inspections and filled key roles in commissioning and start-up activities. “When the time came for turnover, the operations team was more familiar with the terminology and components,” Mr. Cook says.
To keep the stakeholders apprised, the project team met with community leaders and held public meetings. The team also hosted three nationwide radio talk shows, with question-and-answer periods, to inform the public about noise, emissions and new technology being used.
The Bogue project was completed on 30 September 2003, five days ahead of schedule and nearly $5.8 million under budget. Loren Monty, project director at Mirant Corp., attributes the project's success to aggressive and proactive project management, including proper sequencing and scheduling of engineering, construction, and material and equipment delivery.
Since its completion, the Bogue project has helped eliminate scheduled blackouts and reduce the overall cost of fuel. “This has certainly impacted the life of Jamaica,” Mr. Cook says. The public now expects electricity “100 percent of the time, which they should.”
“The new Bogue plant is the first of its kind in Jamaica and its benefits will continue to impact on the growth and economic development of the island for many years to come,” said Charles Matthews, president and CEO of JPS, when he presented the project team with the company's 2003 President's Award for Excellence. “The Bogue expansion project team consists of a special group of individuals who have received benefits twofold from having shared in this extraordinary experience.”
The team also earned kudos from outside the company, including being named a finalist in PMI's Project of the Year competition. In addition, the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry presented JPS with the Award for Excellence in 2003, and the Kiwanis Club of Montego Bay & Freeport gave JPS an Outstanding and Devoted Service award for its efforts to keep the public informed on the plant's progress throughout the project. PM
PM NETWORK | FEBRUARY 2006 | WWW.PMI.ORG
FEBRUARY 2006 | PM NETWORK