Calatrava Sued Over High Costs on Spain's Valencia Opera House
The Spanish city of Valencia is suing the architect Santiago Calatrava and his firm over the high maintenance costs for the city's opera house, which Calatrava designed. Just eight years after opening, the opera house is starting to show signs of aging. The latest incident involves many of the building's mosaic tiles being torn off by high winds, which led the owner to close the venue to the public and cancel performances. Earlier, the building was subject to flooding after heavy rainfall. On that charge, Calatrava blames design changes made by the owner, which the owner denies was the cause of the flooding. The city is suing Calatrava for the cost of repairs and maintenance, which it says is the result of "construction defects," according to local press reports.
Connecticut Completes Largest Fuel-Cell Plant in North America
FuelCell Energy Inc. completed North America's largest fuel-cell installation in late December, a 14.9-MW, five-plant park in Bridgeport, Conn. Owned by Dominion, one of the nation's largest power producers, the fuel-cell park is also the second-largest worldwide, behind a 59-MW installation in South Korea, says a spokesman for FuelCell, which designed and installed and will operate the Bridgeport park for Dominion under a 15-year power purchase agreement. Capital costs for the project were about $56 million, with service costs of about $69 million, the spokesman says. Engineering and construction costs were not disclosed. The Bridgeport park won't hold the second-place title for long, as several other parks are under way, including a 20-MW and a 40-MW park in South Korea expected on line late this year, he adds.
Corps Submits Eight Options To Protect the Great Lakes
A Corps of Engineers report lists eight possible plans, whose costs range as high as $18.4 billion, for deterring Asian carp and other harmful species from moving into the Great Lakes via Chicago-area waterways and the Mississippi River basin. The Corps report, released on Jan. 6, does not pick a preferred plan from among the eight options nor does it rank the proposals in priority order. The options that include major structural features could lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in design and construction work. But it is unclear which agencies will select a plan or which option will be chosen and when. Funding is another question. The $68-million option includes non-structural controls, such as netting and herbicides. The $18.4-billion, 25-year alternative includes physical barriers and anti-nuisance-species treatment facilities at three Illinois locations, one set of barriers in northwest Indiana and flood-risk-management reservoirs.
Emergency Bridge Repair Job Completed Two Weeks Early
After three months of emergency repairs, the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge reopened on Jan. 5—two weeks ahead of schedule—earning general contractor Zenith Tech a $750,000 bonus. The bridge, which carries 40,000 Interstate 43 motorists daily across the Fox River near Green Bay, Wis., was closed on Sept. 25 after a 2-ft dip in the deck suddenly developed (ENR 10/7/13 p. 14). Investigation found the cause to be incompetent soil contaminated by industrial debris. Waukesha, Wis.-based Zenith won a $7.7-million repair contract. Working around the clock, through holidays and braving bitter cold, crews reopened the span on the morning of the NFL wild-card game between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers. Unfortunately for the hometown fans, the Packers lost.
Panda Power Will Now Build Two Plants in Marcellus Shale
Panda Power Funds, a Dallas powerplant financing firm, said on Dec. 20 that it has purchased a second proposed natural-gas-fired facility in Pennsylvania from private developer Moxie Energy that will take advantage of the state's Marcellus shale region. Construction of the 829-MW Patriot project in Lycoming County will begin immediately, with completion set for mid-2016. Bill Pentak, a Panda spokesman, said significant transmission upgrades will not be required to connect it to the grid. Panda will not release project costs, but the company raised debt capital of $651.5 million to finance the project, he said. Last August, Panda acquired Moxie's 829-MW Liberty gas-fired project in Bradford County, Pa., which is expected to come on line in early 2016. Both projects will be air-cooled.