Colorado Bend Energy Center

WSP USA provided comprehensive design services for this natural-gas fired combined cycle power plant.


  • Wharton, Texas, USA


  • Navasota Energy Partners

Project Status

  • Completed in 2007

Meeting Greater Demand for Power

The Colorado Bend Energy Center was developed at a time when a potential seasonal shortfall of power was forecast for the Houston, Texas area. Demand for electricity was increasing steadily, while utilities were decommissioning some of their older and less efficient plants.

We provided fast-track design services, including civil, structural, and mechanical and electrical engineering, instrumentation design, and equipment procurement, for development of the 550-megawatt power plant.

Key Numbers

Fuel Source
Natural Gas
Generating Capacity
550 MW

Peaking Power Plant

The natural gas-fired, combined cycle plant was put into commercial operation 225-megawatt capacity, and was later expanded to 550-megawatt capacity. The plant was designed to operate during periods of peak demand.

Innovative design solutions were required to meet the rapid start-up requirement. The plant was designed with a stack damper, which keeps the heat recovery steam generator in a warm standby condition when off line. The facility also includes a full steam turbine bypass to allow the combustion turbine generator and heat recovery steam generator to come up to full load independently of the steam turbine generator.

During early commercial operation, the Colorado Bend Energy Center ran substantially more than originally planned to meet the demand for electricity, producing power 12 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week.