“Introduction to Large Thermal Power Generation Plants,” Williamson’s second, unique 3-day, introductory course that explained how energy is created through a combination of classroom instruction and the rare opportunity to tour five power plants, was held at Williamson July 11-13 in the Strine Learning Center.

The continuing education course was designed for the general public as well as power industry professionals and focused on large, field-erected steam generators with a 500,000 to 4 million pounds per hour steam-generation rating.

Power plant tours included Williamson’s Energy Island; Exelon Power’s Eddystone Generating Station; Logan Generating Plant, a coal-fired power station in Swedesboro, NJ; Liberty Power Station operated by Dynegy, in Eddystone; and Marcus Hook Energy Center.

Williamson offered the course because it is known as “Industry’s Workforce Development Partner” and has been producing graduates for over 125 years that have reached the top tier of energy and electric production companies across the U.S., said lead instructor Richard Storm, PE, 6W2, a Williamson trustee and senior consultant at Storm Technologies, Inc.

Storm said, “An added bonus was that at each of the plants visited Williamson was represented by well-qualified employees who were Williamson graduates. At the NextEra plant, we were met by three Williamson men who gave a detailed tour and answered all of our questions. The same was true at the Eddystone, Dynegy, and Logan plants. Interestingly, the plants all espouse similar values as Williamson on ethical human behavior. This fits nicely with Williamson’s character training of the five core values: Faith, Integrity, Diligence, Excellence, and Service.

“The plant operations and maintenance personnel served as tour guides at the plants visited. They generously provided very detailed meeting room presentations, descriptions, and provided close up inspections during the tours of the plant equipment. The plant personnel went above and beyond normal expectations for a tour and gave as much detailed technical descriptions as any participant requested.”

Storm said the main goal of the course was to demonstrate where our energy comes from and how it is produced because, “Only about one percent of Americans realize that over 86 percent of our daily energy comes from thermal energy — natural gas, nuclear, coal, Biomass and oil — and that renewable energy — hydropower, solar and wind —together only provide about 14 percent.

“This course was designed to educate the public on how the energy we use every day is created and where it comes from. However, most of the participants are employed in the industry. The advantage of this course was the participants were able to learn about the other forms of thermal power generation not used at their plants. The Williamson approach of mixing classroom time with equipment exposure for a version of hands-on teaching was applied, similar to what is done with our full-time students. I am very pleased with the results.”

Along with Storm, the other instructors were: Scott Chilman, Williamson’s director of power plant technology; Kevin Hatch 0W8, shift supervisor, System Operations, at PJM Interconnection; Stacy Starr 6W8, a retired senior technical service engineer at Sunoco; and Tom Reilly 7W8, president, TJR Technical Services. Williamson staff also provided outstanding support.

Storm added, “Our instructors represented a total of more than 125 years of power generation experience. We felt this more than qualified us to present this course.”