The Power Industry in the United States is changing. For years the industry was allowed to release flue gas from the burning of coal into the atmosphere with little or no Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) control. Now, power plant environmental upgrades are being mandated at both the state and federal level to clean up the flue gas; the Clean Coal Initiative, the Mercury and Air Toxics standard, and the Clean Power Plan are just some of the EPA mandates that are affecting the industry. As more EPA regulations are implemented, new technology is being developed to meet the new regulatory requirements. Power plant personnel and management are being tasked with implementing technology that has, in some cases, never been used before. Some of the things being implemented are:
Conducting these power plant environmental upgrades through implementation of these new technologies requires an effective training program. The key word is effective. Many times the contract for the environmental upgrade will specify that a certain amount of training must take place prior to commissioning. The vendors supplying the new equipment will often send an engineer or possibly a trainer to fulfill this requirement. However, training is often not an area of expertise for these vendors, and their supplied training can often times be ineffective at preparing plant operators and management for use of the new equipment.
Many plants choose to bring in outside training consultants to come in and deliver training on the new equipment. Unfortunately, this often happens following the vendor supplied designer/builder training when the vendor-supplied training that was given was ineffective. This is completely new technology that most plant employees have never seen before, let alone been asked to operate, which is why it is extremely important for the training to be effective. Since most of the people at the plant have not run these systems, everyone from the management team, engineers, and operators require training that is customized to their systems. Choosing to use training consultants over vendor-supplied training can save the plant both time and money by ensuring the training given is effective the first time around.
Effective training on the environmental upgrades must be tailored to your plant configuration. Generic off-the-shelf training can be misleading and at times completely wrong or outdated. The training must be prepared and implemented on-site and customized to the exact configuration of the plant for it to be effective. The right trainer will spend an extensive amount of time ensuring that the manuals and training used are absolutely correct and customized to you configuration. They will conduct plant visits and interviews, gather references, and talk to and work with both the designer and builders to ensure the information provided to the trainees is complete, correct, and up-to-date.
It is also important to understand that many training consultants do not have experience with the new environmental upgrade technologies listed above, and some do not have experience in the industry at all. When selecting a training consultant for training on your environmental upgrade, ensure that they understand the new technology that is being implemented in the industry. Some consultants have spent decades developing training manuals (sometimes the first of their kind) that are used to train the personnel throughout the industry, while others lack experience. Choosing training consultants that have worked with the industry designers, builders, and the power plant operators to implement training and technical documentation on ALL of the new technologies above will lead to success in operation of the plant following the completion of your power plant environmental upgrade.