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Dramatic Improvements at North America’s Largest Power Plant

Power & Utilities

Nanticoke Generating Station


The Nanticoke Generating Station, owned by Ontario Power Generation, is the largest coal-burning electric power plant in North America. The plant’s eight units are capable of producing enough power to run 2.5 million households for a full year and currently supply 18% of the power in the Province of Ontario.


Facing growing operational problems and environmental concerns the plant needed to make rapid, dramatic improvements. Plant management initiated a major improvement initiative, collaborating with Kepner-Tregoe (KT ) to address a series of operational improvements.


KT has worked with power plants worldwide to achieve new levels of efficiency, resolve longstanding issues, and improve quality. Beginning with senior management, about 200 plant employees were trained in KT Problem Solving & Decision Making; ten leaders were trained as process consultants to facilitate use of KT processes; and KT eThink® Enterprise Software was installed to promote use of KT process.

Using KT processes, everyone—from trade workers to top management—began to address issues that ranged from equipment performance to people and work process issues. A range of operational and environmental improvements were made across the organization by targeting issues and using KT processes to quickly achieve sustainable results.


Over 100 formal and many expedited process exercises resulted in sweeping improvements, millions of dollars in savings, and better environmental standards. Some examples include:

  • When the plant became dependant on rented compressed air systems to meet demand, a team used KT Decision Analysis (DA) to find a better alternative. Annual savings are $160K, reliability has increased, and environmental hazards reduced.
  • While metal toxicity threatened the plant’s ash lagoons, Problem Analysis (PA) helped identify why, and DA helped a team determine the best remedy. A proposed water treatment modification estimated to cost $1M was eliminated, fines of up to $100K for each of the annual 3-4 toxicity occurrences were avoided, and regulatory confidence was improved.
  • The station used KT processes to identify the most effective use of $1.4 million designated for rapidly reducing the Equivalent Forced Outage Rating (EFOR)—a measure of lost production due to unavailable equipment. Using Situation Appraisal (SA) to identify high priorities, and DA to select the best improvement projects, the team reduced EFOR by 2%, contributing $5.2 million to commercial revenues.

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