West Deptford Energy Station Black Start System
West Deptford, N.J.       
Best Project

Owner LS Power
Lead Design Firm Energy Engineers Inc.
General Contractor Conti Enterprises Inc.
Civil Engineer Marathon Engineering

The West Deptford Energy Station serves as the primary source of power for Gloucester County, N.J.. The station was in need of a Black Start system, which is used to restore an electric power station or part of an electric grid without relying on the external transmission network.

Contractor Conti was hired to construct the Black Start system and integrate it into the existing system. Since Black Start systems are not typically installed after the powerplant is already constructed due to the risk involved, this project was practically unprecedented and serves as a milestone in the power sector.

For the team to successfully integrate the new system, a precise installation procedure was required to avoid damage to the existing structure. This process involved shutting the powerplant down, connecting the new system and then restarting the system, all performed under a tight schedule and to strict specifications.

To ensure that this would be executed successfully, Conti worked with West Deptford for more than a year and a half leading up to the integration. During this process, the contractor helped the owner minimize the size of the engines required for the Black Start system, which led to lower construction costs. The work was scheduled to avoid interfering with base operations.

Three generators were installed as the core of the system, chosen based on performance standards and air and sound quality requirements. The size of the generators was also very important as it determined the order in which the startup procedure would be performed.

With all of these guidelines in place, Conti did extensive research before selecting three of the largest diesel-engine-driven generators and installed them in enclosures that will reduce sound—all of which met the needed specifications. The team also constructed a diesel engine control system and modified the existing facility control system, both of which were then inspected and tested before and after construction.

“This project provides the community of West Deptford with a highly reliable backup plan for power outages,” says Eric Boehm, project manager at Conti.

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