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Articles | 11.01.21

HOUSTON – Consolidated Asset Management Services (CAMS), an industry leading asset management and operations and maintenance (O&M) services provider, recently announced the Laredo Energy Center (LEC), which is operated by CAMS, recently celebrated 15 years without a lost time accident or recordable injury.

LEC is a two-unit, simple-cycle natural gas fired power plant located in Laredo, Texas, and owned by Talen Energy. The plant consists of nine full-time employees who, to date, have safely operated 5,502 days incident free. As a token of appreciation to the employees, they were awarded a celebratory lunch and provided backpacks with gloves, safety glasses, ear plugs, and other safety related items to utilize both at home and work.

Congratulations to the Laredo Energy Center team on its huge achievement and continue the wonderful work!

About CAMS

CAMS is a privately held company providing a full range of services in the energy sector. These services include lifecycle management of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues for all facility and industry types. Our founding principle is to add value through superior management and operation of our clients’ energy infrastructure assets. To this end, we empower our employees to pursue creative and sustainable business practices in the field and at our corporate office that contribute to operational excellence, financial performance, a safe workplace, and a better community and environment.  We do not take this responsibility lightly: We treat the assets with which we are entrusted as our own. For additional information, visit www.camstex.com.

About Talen Energy

Talen Energy is one of the largest competitive power generation and infrastructure companies in North America. TES owns and/or controls approximately 13,000 megawatts of generating capacity in wholesale U.S. power markets, principally in the Mid-Atlantic, Texas and Montana.

Through its subsidiary, Cumulus Growth, Talen is developing a large-scale portfolio of renewable energy, battery storage, and digital infrastructure assets across its expansive footprint. For more information, visit www.talenenergy.com/esg-focused-future.

Articles | 08.26.21

Hamakua Energy (Hamakua), a 60-MW combined-cycle power generation facility located on the island of Hawai’i in Honoka’a, Hawaii, provides 22 percent of Hawai’i Island’s generating capacity. CAMS has managed and operated the plant since 2011.

The facility’s primary fuel is naphtha. Prior to October 2019, low sulfur and ultra-low sulfur diesel were used for start-ups and to supplement the naphtha. Naphtha is a cost-effective fuel but is typically procured as either a byproduct of other refining operations in Hawai’i or is procured from the naphtha markets in Asia.

In 2019, CAMS supported the owner, Hamakua Energy, LLC, a Pacific Current company, in securing a biodiesel supply contract with Pacific Biodiesel Technologies (Pacific Biodiesel). Pacific Biodiesel owns a refinery at the Shipman Industrial Park in Keaau that utilizes state-of-the art distillation technology to produce the nation’s highest quality biodiesel. Much of the fuel is manufactured through the recycling of waste cooking oils from restaurants statewide.

The use of the Pacific Biodiesel fuel represents a sustainable business practice for Hamakua. The consumption of the locally-sourced renewable fuel that is transported to the facility via biodiesel-fueled trucks supports a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This is done through a decreased reliance on imported fossil fuels both at the plant and in the supply chain, while upholding the State’s energy independence and energy security initiatives.

At CAMS, our founding principle is to add value through superior management and operation of our clients’ energy infrastructure assets. We know what it takes to run a sustainable business. Since 2007, CAMS has managed energy assets that provide reliable fuel, transportation, and power to grids throughout the U.S. and Europe. Whether you’re seeking a partner to develop a full Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) management program, or looking for guidance on how to achieve a sustainable, value-driven work culture, our experienced team can help you achieve your goals. Connect with one of our experts today.

Articles | 08.20.21

Calhoun Power Company, LLC is a 688-MW dual-fuel simple-cycle generation facility located in Eastaboga, Ala. The plant’s four GE 7FA gas turbine engines generate enough electricity to power over 500,000 homes in the region. The plant is owned by Harbert Power Fund V, LLC and has been operated by CAMS since 2016.

Awarding College Scholarships

Calhoun Power takes community involvement seriously. Through the Anniston Community Education Foundation (ACEF), Calhoun Power offers three $2,000 scholarships annually, divided between the fall and spring semesters, to graduating seniors planning a degree in electrical, electronic or engineering related majors. In additional to demonstrated academic success, all high school senior scholarship recipients have contributed at least 20 hours to community service. The scholarships are renewable one time and returning applicants must serve at least 40 community service hours over the previous year.

Pictured above are recent recipients of ACEF scholarships, including six Calhoun Power Scholars. The Calhoun Power Scholars include are attending Jacksonville State University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Auburn University. Their academic interests include computer science, environmental science, biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.

Vocational Education Tours

Each year, Calhoun Power sponsors local vocational education students to tour the plant to learn about careers in the power generation field.

Pictured below are Anniston High School Career and Technical Education students.

Pictured below are Cleburne County High Schools students.

Articles | 08.11.21

HOUSTON – Consolidated Asset Management Services (CAMS) supported Houston area families and students as part of the YMCA of Greater Houston’s 17th annual Operation Backpack, a drive that provides backpacks and school supplies for students in need.

CAMS employees organized a collection and filled new backpacks with the supplies to make a difference in the local community. The investment made by CAMS employees provides children the opportunity to return to learning with the tools to be successful.

“Many of us have kids of our own and know the importance of having the necessary supplies to excel in the classroom,” said Mona Johnson, CAMS Senior Vice President of Environmental, Health, Safety and Regulatory. “This drive directly addresses the needs of our local community, and it was wonderful to see our employees take the initiative to coordinate it.”

According to the YMCA of Greater Houston, 28.8 percent of Houston students age 17 and younger live below the poverty line. By distributing necessary school supplies, YMCA Operation Backpack’s mission is to fill students with hope for a brighter future as they start the school year. The YMCA’s goal is to reach 30,000 Houston area youth.

CAMS values and aims to enrich the communities in which we live and work.

Articles | 07.14.21

By Matthew Pacobit, Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs

After posting the article Cybersecurity in Power Plants – Is my facility vulnerable? we received additional questions asking how OT or Operational Technology is different from IT business networks. This article will explain some of those differences and why they are important when considering cybersecurity.

Operational vs. Business Networks

Let’s first consider the structure of business networks because that is what most people are familiar with. Business networks are typically a collection of independent systems (computers) all running software from either Windows or Linux. Each computer is able to communicate with other computers through the business network, and each computer controls who it is talking to. For example, when you browse the internet you type in a web address which instructs your computer to initiate a request for information from a server. There are some exceptions to this generalized description of the structure of business networks, but for the purpose of this analysis they are not essential (even though I know there are some IT professional pulling out their hair in frustration with this oversimplification). One of the key characteristics of this structure is that it allows for enterprise-type solutions for virus protection and patching because all the machines on the business network run the same operating system. However, what happens if all the machines are not independent systems and do not run the same operating system?

This brings us to Operational Technology, which again will be discussed very generically as there are countless types in existence. Operational networks do not just use the Windows PC that you see in the control room, but instead interface with field devices and field networks running a variety of proprietary software and/or operating systems. These could include systems from companies such as Emerson, GE, Siemens, Mitsubishi, Allen Bradley, and Bently Nevada to name a few. Even within these vendors there can be different systems such as Emerson’s Ovation system and Emerson’s heart communication implementation on their Rosemount transmitters. Normally, these different systems are run by a central controller. They are not designed for their own independent reliability, but for the overall reliability of the plant or system that they are operating. In practice, this means that if the central controller detects something is wrong, it will fail to the backup controller. What causes this to happen varies widely by system design and manufacturer.

Due to the differences in the way business and operational networks are setup and function, we must take different approaches to how we secure these systems. For example, you can run a network detect tool on a business network with minimal risk of causing any issues, but if you run that same tool on an operations network you could bring down the entire network and the plant with it. While this may not happen every time, there is a much greater risk on the operational networks due to the differences in structure. Another good example is patching. There are several Windows patches that cannot be loaded onto certain operational networks because they will cause significant issues to the network.

Therefore, it is crucial when you are looking at securing your operational networks to make sure you are using someone with knowledge and experience with OT and who understands why and how they are different from business networks.


For help and information about protecting your operational or business network and data systems, contact one of our experts.

Articles | 07.12.21

Two CAMS facilities, Calhoun Power and Lincoln Generating Station are recognized leaders in the safety arena. Both sites are Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star sites.

Calhoun Power Company, LLC is a 688-MW dual-fuel simple-cycle generation facility located in Eastaboga, Ala. The plant’s four GE 7FA gas turbine engines generate enough electricity to power over 500,000 homes in the region. The plant is owned by Harbert Power Fund V, LLC and had been operated by CAMS since 2016.
The Lincoln Generating Facility is a 656-MW natural gas‐fired simple‐cycle facility located southeast of Manhattan, Ill. The plant includes eight GE 7EA Gas Turbines, four of which have black start capability. The plant is owned by Eastern Generation, LLC and has been operated by CAMS since 2016.

As VPP sites, the Calhoun and Lincoln management teams, site staff, and OSHA work together to prevent fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. A tailored system is implemented that incorporates the key elements of the VPP program:

  • Management Leadership and Employee Involvement
  • Work Site Analysis
  • Hazard Prevention and Control
  • Health and Safety Training

To participate, a formal application to OSHA is required, followed by a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of safety and health professionals. VPP participants are re-evaluated every three to five years to remain in the program.

Calhoun Power

Mike Carter, Plant Manager at Calhoun Power shares his team’s safety strategies:

Management Leadership and Employee Involvement

Buy-in. All site members are involved and understand the importance of buy-in to the safety culture and expectation of safety at all levels. If anyone has an idea to improve a process, the team discusses and decides the next step as a group. If there is a way to improve a task or process, we will do it. Tasks need solid procedures in place. During site orientation, we mention our accomplishment of being a VPP Star site and enforce the need to work safely for the contractors.

Work Site Analysis

We are constantly looking to ensure no hidden hazards are in our work area. We discuss daily jobs at each morning meeting and remind each other of the safety hazards for the task to ensure the job will get done safely. We read a portion of the CAMS safety manual at every morning meeting to keep safety fresh on our minds.

Hazard Prevention and Control

We are required to conduct one safety meeting a month, instead, we do one each Wednesday. Part of this includes a Hazard Hunt, during which each individual walks the site specifically looking for any hazards and taking action to mitigate potentially unsafe conditions.

Safety and Health Training

As with all sites, we are required to conduct specific training, either computer based (GPi), or hands on. Tracking is critical to ensure all personnel receive the training required to maintain the knowledge required for proficiency at daily tasks as well as emergencies. We have emergency procedures for any critical scenario we can think of.

Lincoln Generating Facility

The Lincoln Generating Facility program fundamentals include:

Management Leadership and Employee Involvement

Management recognizes and accepts the responsibility in leading all employees in maintaining a safe culture at Lincoln Generating Facility. Responsibility for safety and health at Lincoln Generating Facility is assigned in a variety of ways.

All employees are responsible for the maintenance, housekeeping, and safety of the site. Therefore to assist in the drive of these responsibilities, the site utilizes not only the Safety Committee to lead in these efforts, but also the Safety Promotion and Recognition Program to reward employees for their efforts. Safety is as much an individual’s responsibility as it is a management or company responsibility. All Lincoln Generating Facility employees are expected to leave work in the same physical condition as when they arrived. Therefore, these same employees are responsible to assist in maintaining and improving the sites safety and health programs and are expected to set a safe example for all employees’ contractors and visitors.

Worksite Analysis

All job descriptions are developed with safety accountabilities as a primary component. Safety procedures indicate positions that are responsible for activities and/or documentation.

Job Safety Analysis (JSAs) are developed by the job experts/employees in each area to identify position responsibilities for safe practices. General employee safety responsibilities are stated in the new employee orientation and weekly/ annual safety training at the site. Safety goals and objectives are part of every employee’s performance review.

Health & Safety Performance Goals & Training

Lincoln Generating Facility annually sets safety and performance goals for the site. This allows the site to prioritize its Safety, Health, and Training issues and enhances the recognition of safety, as a long-term commitment. All employees are held accountable in reaching performance goals and objectives. These goals and objectives are measured through the employees’ annual performance review process. The annual reviews include areas of safety, quality and productivity.  Safety, Health, and Training programs and goals are communicated on a regular basis with the employees via new employee orientations, daily meetings, postings and employee evaluations.


Do you need a health and safety assessment? Safety training? Support for Management of Change processes? Learn more about our health and safety services or contact one of our experts today. contact-ancillary-services

Articles | 06.24.21

By Matthew Pacobit, Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs

We have been getting many questions from clients about cybersecurity and the cyberattacks that have been widely reported in recent news. Most clients want to know why these attacks are happening all of a sudden and whether or not their plant is vulnerable.

To begin, the media may have just started reporting some of these high-profile attacks, but if you read public companies past disclosures, you will find that this has been going on for years. Additionally, cyberattacks have been growing exponentially and with the rise of cryptocurrency, criminals are now able to demand payments that are almost completely untraceable.

With regards to the vulnerability of clients’ plants, the answer is a bit more complicated and there are a few key points that need to be made clear.

First, all power plant control systems are vulnerable and there is no such thing as a perfectly secure system. Even systems that are air-gaped are still at risk of transient cyber assets and removable media (laptops, tablets, phones, USBs, etc.).

Second, power plant control systems are not the same as IT business networks. Plant control systems are made up of many customized components from a wide variety of venders. Some of these components might be off-the-shelf computers, but they cannot be secured using the same solutions as business network computers. I have seen firsthand, a cybersecurity software try to request information from a plant controller on an operation network. The controller interpreted it as an unknown error, failed, and triggered a backup. The software then did the same thing to the backup and took down the entire system.

Because of the risk to the control system, the CAMS cybersecurity team separates out the business network from the operational network when looking at cybersecurity solutions. Most of our clients currently use CAMS Bluewire Technologies for their business network cybersecurity, however, each operational network is unique. There needs to be a discussion on risk mitigation vs. cost for each control system and each cybersecurity solution. Some control systems can be secured with a firewall or data diode, while others are better off with firewall monitoring and/or whitelisting. Additionally, most power plant control systems have at least some components and software that are older than 5-10 years, so determining the right fit is a personalized process.

In the end, securing the power plant control system not only reduces the risk of down time but also reduces the risk of equipment damage, making cybersecurity and risk mitigation worth the cost.

For more information, contact us below.

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Articles | 06.08.21

Picture yourself working as a Solar Operations & Maintenance Service Technician for CAMS Solar Services, LLC.

CAMS offers a variety of excellent benefits. Full-time employees are offered the following: medical, dental, vision, LTD, STD, and Life insurance plans. You can even select additional “al la carte” benefits to meet all of your needs. You can also enroll in our 401k, flex spending accounts for medical and childcare needs, and participate in our employee referral and tuition reimbursement programs.

CAMS is hiring a Solar O&M Service Technician in Massachusetts (in the Brockton, Worcester, and/or Southbridge counties). The Solar O&M Service Technician must have knowledge in electrical systems and commercial solar space. They will be responsible for completing service calls, troubleshooting solar site systems and electrical. Must have a strong safety mindset, an excellent work ethic, and good communication and documenting skills.

Please click here to apply and/or review all of our open positions.

Qualified applicants must be legally authorized for employment in the United States. Qualified applicants will not require employer sponsored work authorization now or in the future for employment in the United States.

Articles | 01.09.21

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been busy. Since late August, the EPA published two final rules relating to coal combustion residuals (CCR), one final rule relating to wastewater discharge from coal-fired power plants with emission controls and proposed a significant rewrite to the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR).

These rules have significant implications for coal-fired power plants’ future operations, and the CSAPR update will affect all power plants in 12 states in the eastern United States. CAMS operates three coal-fired power plants – Gavin Station in Ohio and Conemaugh and Keystone Stations in Pennsylvania. A summary of each rule and its implications follows.

COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS PART A AND PART B

In response to the catastrophic TVA Kingston coal ash release in December 2008, EPA passed a series of en­hanced regulations to regulate the storage and dis­posal of coal combustion residuals (CCR) or coal ash. EPA published the Disposal of CCR rule in April 2015. This rule addresses groundwater protection from leaking contaminants, blowing of materials into the air as dust, and catastrophic failure of coal ash surface impoundments. There is also a requirement to post specific information about coal-fired power plant CCR programs on public websites. Under the CCR rule, the design of ponds used to store coal ash must meet particular groundwater protection standards or be removed from service and closed. Clay lined im­poundments were previously permissible if ground­water monitoring did not detect a release. However, a 2018 court decision requires all active ponds to meet the rule’s liner requirements. In 2019, EPA proposed “A Holistic Approach to Closure,” Parts A and B, which outlines requirements for maintaining, closing, and replacing “unlined” ponds.

Part A specifies timelines for the development of al­ternative pond capacity and the use of unlined ponds. Under Part A, unlined ponds may not receive any coal ash after April 11, 2021, unless they receive an exten­sion from EPA or the state agency. Extensions are available if a plant develops another method for stor­ing CCR material (i.e., installing new ponds, retrofit­ting liners to existing ponds, removing waste streams) or a plant commits to the permanent closure of the coal-fired units. In essence, almost every coal-fired power plant must have lined CCR ponds that meeting EPA standards between 04/21 and 10/23 or commit to the retirement of the coal-fired boilers. Extension applications are required to be filed by November 30, 2020. Gavin’s Part A demonstration was filed Octo­ber 19, 2020, and Conemaugh’s was filed the week of November 16. Keystone already has concrete-lined ponds that meet the requirements of the CCR Rule.

Part B offers a potential alternative for CCR ponds con­sidered “unlined” but provides an equivalent ground­water protection level. For such facilities, Part B de­fines a process through which a facility may make an “alternate liner demonstration,” which, if successful, would allow those ponds to continue to operate with­out modification. Conemaugh’s ash filter ponds are lined with engineered synthetic clay liners that offer groundwater protection equivalent to or better than the standards the EPA sets forth in the CCR rule. An application to proceed with an alternate liner demon­stration is due by November 30. Conemaugh’s appli­cation will be filed the week of November 16.

EFFLUENT LIMITATION GUIDELINES FOR POWER PLANT WASTEWATER

On October 13, 2020, EPA finalized the revised Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELG) for Steam Electric Pow­er Plants Rule. This regulation affects power plants that discharge bottom ash (BA) transport water or wastewater from flue gas desulfurization (FGD). The ELG rules potentially affect Keystone, Conemaugh, and Gavin stations. The ELG rule requires BA and FGD wastewaters’ compliance as soon as possible, but no later than 12/31/2025. There is an alternate compliance option of ceasing the plants’ operation by 12/31/2028 and meeting more stringent FGD limits by 12/31/2028. The most significant limitations in the FGD rule relate to mercury, selenium, arsenic, and nitrate/nitrite dis­charge. Compliance with the BA rule may be accom­plished through the revision of a plant’s water bal­ance. All three stations are currently evaluating their compliance options.

CROSS-STATE AIR POLLUTION RULE REVISED UPDATE

The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) requires power plants in 23 eastern states to reduce sulfur di­oxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) to improve air quality through a “cap and trade” program. There are three programs in CSAPR, for which allowances are accounted and traded independently – SO2, annual NOx, and Ozone Season (May-September) NOx. Every ton of NOx emitted during the summer from an af­fected plant requires the surrender of two allowances: an ozone season NOx allowance and an annual NOx allowance. The cost of these allowances impact pow­er plant operating economics.

On October 30, 2020, the EPA proposed a significant update to CSAPR, reducing the number of Ozone Sea­son NOx allowances available for power plants in 12 states by 55% beginning in 2021. The impacted states are Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. These states will belong to a new trading group, with allowance trading re­stricted to the same group sources. This change is not expected to impact compliance for any of the plants CAMS operates. However, it will affect compliance costs. The restriction on the number of allowances available and the market size restriction are both ex­pected to impact allowance prices. These changes in allowance prices could have a discernible impact on coal-fired power plants’ cost of operation, in addition to the ELG and CCR rules noted above.

Please contact CAMS’ Environmental Services De­partment if you have questions about any of the above regulations or other EPA rulemaking

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Articles | 01.13.20

By David Harsell

 

As part of an effort to keep pace with the ever-changing technology of the oil industry, the BLM issued new Federal Onshore Orders in Jan 2017. These new regulations affected numerous topics including administration, reporting, operations, site security, and oil and gas measurement on Federal leases. Many of the significant portions of these regulations included implementation dates that were being phased-in to allow the industry adequate time to comply with their requirements and the BLM to create the necessary procedures and software for proper administration.

Because of the complexity of Onshore Order 3173 Requirements for Site Security and Production Handling, the BLM placed a temporary hold on implementing certain aspects of this regulation so that it could be re-written to provide more clarity to the industry’s operators. The new re-written Onshore Order 3173 is planned to be released to the public in the next several weeks and will be posted for 60 days to allow operators to review the requirements and provide comments. The re-write should address common issues/concerns with flowback equipment, commingling, allocation meters, bypasses, and Facility Measurement Points (FMPs). The BLM highly recommends and encourages operators to read the proposed re-write and submit comments as available on the Federal Register website.

Applications for the assignment of FMPs are still on hold until several development stages are completed after the introduction of the AFMSS 2 WISx system which will replace the Well Information System (WIS). The introduction of WISx will not happen until mid-March and the FMP reporting module will not be available until late 2020.

CAMS in-house technical staff is familiar with the requirements of the new Federal Onshore Orders and has experience working with the BLM to resolve compliance problems. As your operations encounter issues with understanding or complying with these new regulations, you should consider contacting CAMS to conduct a survey of your overall compliance level or assist in addressing problems. CAMS can be reached by sending an email or calling 713-380-4719.

This article is written by David Harsell, a CAMS senior engineering advisor, with over 45 yrs of industry engineering, facilities and operating experience working with the BLM.