Top Projects 2009: Industrial/Winner

Keephills 3 Power Plant

The $1.8-billion, 450 MW Keephills 3 Power Plant, under construction west of Edmonton, is the first coal-fired generating plant in five years, a sibling to the existing Keephills operation and the product of a joint venture partnership between TransAlta and Capital Power, formerly Epcor.


Keephills 3 will provide much-needed power to our growing province. It's also been providing much-needed work in a slow economy.

"It's being constructed by probably 80 per cent Edmonton-area people and involvement from contractors from the local area is probably about 80 per cent as well," says Cecil Dawe, director of construction-industrial, Graham Industrial Services Ltd. in Edmonton.

Mike Long, spokesman for Capital Power, says that when the project started, labour wasn't as readily available as it is today and Keephills 3 offered work close to home.

The massive project involves the construction of a number of facilities, including a water treatment plant, boiler house, fly ash silo, turbine hall, cooling tower, coal plant, cooling water pump house, and control building.

Graham has been on the job since February 2007, providing construction management, earthworks, underground services, architectural finishes, and structural concrete foundations.

Approximately two km of underground cooling water lines and about four km of underground piping for utilities were installed and between 500,000 and 700,000 cu. m of dirt moved.

About 40,000 cu. m of structural concrete was required to build foundations big enough to handle the equipment required by a coal-fired generating station. Graham designed and developed an o-site batching facility as well as an ice-making facility to provide 40 tonnes of ice each day. The ice was used to keep the temperature of the concrete down for the many large pours required.

As of fall 2009, Long reports that cladding was going onto many of the buildings, while interior work is ongoing.

Other parties bringing their expertise to power the province include Colt WorleyParsons as well as structural steel supplier Waiward Steel Fabricators Ltd.; mechanical contractor Melloy Industrial Services, a PCL company; electrical contractor Chemco; and Alstom, which took care of the boiler work.



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