Thursday, June 9, 2011

GE Launches Power Plant with Breakthrough Flexibility and Efficiency to Enable Greater Use of Wind, Solar and Natural Gas on Power Grid
On May 25, 2011 E (NYSE: GE), whose technology helps to deliver a quarter of the world’s electricity, today announced a first-of-its-kind power plant engineered to deliver an unprecedented combination of flexibility and efficiency. By rapidly ramping up and down in response to fluctuations in wind and solar power, the technology will enable the integration of more renewable resources into the power grid. The FlexEfficiency* 50 Combined Cycle[1] Power Plant is rated at 510 megawatts and offers fuel efficiency greater than 61 percent. The plant is the result of an investment of more than $500 million in research and development by GE and a key part of its ongoing work to create and manufacture technologies around the globe that deliver cleaner, more efficient energy.

While power plants today can provide flexibility or high efficiency, this power plant will deliver an unprecedented combination of both. GE calls this combination of flexibility and efficiency ‘FlexEfficiency,’ which is essential if renewable power is going to cost-effectively integrate into power grids around the world on a large scale.

GE drew from the company’s jet engine expertise to engineer a plant that will ramp up at a rate of more than 50 megawatts per minute, twice the rate of today’s industry benchmarks. Operational flexibility at these levels will enable utilities to deliver power quickly when it is needed and to ramp down when it is not, balancing the grid cost-effectively and helping to deploy additional renewable power resources like wind and solar. A typical FlexEfficiency 50 plant will deliver enough energy to power more than 600,000 E.U. homes.
The FlexEfficiency 50 plant is the first product in GE’s new FlexEfficiency portfolio and part of GE’s ecomagination commitment to drive clean energy technology through innovation and R&D investment. The launch follows GE’s recent announcements of the world’s most efficient wind turbine, the highest reported efficiency for thin film solar and $11 billion in acquisitions that strengthen a portfolio supporting natural gas and power transmission.
GE engineers were able to avoid the typical tradeoffs between flexibility and efficiency by approaching the plant design from a total equipment and control systems perspective. The FlexEfficiency 50 plant is engineered for flexible operation by integrating a next-generation 9FB Gas Turbine that operates at 50 Hz, which is the power frequency that is most used in countries around the world; a 109D-14 Steam Turbine, which runs on the waste heat produced by the gas turbine; GE’s advanced W28 Generator; a Mark* VIe integrated control system that links all of the technologies; and a heat recovery steam generator.

“With global energy demand expected to double by 2030 and electricity generation accounting for 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, utilities and government bodies are taking a hard look at how to produce power more efficiently,” said Ricardo Cordoba, president of GE Energy for Western Europe and North Africa. “This innovation can have a dramatic effect on CO₂ emissions and offers a nimble, efficient and cost-effective way for us to help E.U. countries in their pursuit of 20-20-20 energy goals[2].”

The International Energy Agency concluded in a report issued on May 24, 2011 that large shares of variable renewable energy are feasible as long as power systems and markets are properly configured so they can get the best use of their flexible resources....

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According to
When compared to GE’s current technologies, a typical plant that varies its output depending on conditions will save approximately $2.6 million dollars per year under a typical operating profile of 4,500 hours per year at a natural gas price of about $10 per million btu. Under the same profile, the plant would have annual fuel savings of 6.4 million cubic meters of natural gas, equivalent to the annual natural gas consumption of more than 4,000 EU households. It would also have annual CO2 emissions reduction of more than 12,700 metric tons - equivalent to removing more than 6,000 cars from EU roads. Each plant also avoids 10 metric tons of NOx annually.
The FlexEfficiency 50 plant using GE’s advanced 9FB Gas Turbine is rated at 510 megawatts with greater than 61% efficiency, significantly reducing the amount of fuel needed to create power. The plant achieves a ramp-rate of more than 50 megawatts per minute, twice the ramp-rate of today’s industry benchmarks. The technology allows the plant to turn down to 40% of its load while maintaining emissions guarantees and it starts in less than 30 minutes. It can be integrated with a concentrated solar power field to achieve more than 70% efficiency and it offers a 10% smaller footprint than existing combined cycle power plants with equivalent output. (A combined cycle plant uses gas and steam turbines working in tandem to make efficient use of fuel.)
On June 3, 2011 GE and Harbin Electric Co., Ltd. (HE) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in which HE agreed to purchase GE’s newest breakthrough gas turbine featuring FlexEfficiency* technology. As part of the MOU, HE plans to purchase four 9FB gas turbines from GE before the end of 2013, including two that will incorporate FlexEfficiency technology. The purchases are subject to HE being awarded projects, most likely for district heating applications in China.

On June 6, 2011 GE announced today that it entered into an investment and licensing agreement with California-based eSolar that enables GE (NYSE: GE) to deploy Integrated Solar Combined Cycle (ISCC) technology to customers worldwide. eSolar is a provider of next-generation, tower-based concentrating solar thermal technology. MetCap Energy Investments, a Turkish investor and developer of power projects, plans to collaborate with GE in making this investment.... Under the agreement, GE will license and incorporate eSolar technology into its offers of cost-effective ISCC and standalone solar thermal power plants. The companies expect the transaction, which will establish GE as a minority shareholder, to close within a month. Financial terms are not being disclosed.... An ISCC project combines a combined-cycle system including a gas turbine, steam turbine, generators and a heat recovery steam generator, with a field of mirrors that focus sunlight on a tower to produce high temperature steam. Steam generated in the solar field is fed into the water-steam cycle of the combined-cycle plant, increasing the power of the steam turbine and creating extra megawatts of electricity without using any additional natural gas.... eSolar’s power plant technology uses small, flat, pre-fabricated mirrors called heliostats to track the sun and reflect its heat to a tower-mounted receiver. This generates steam used by the plant’s power block to create electricity. Thousands of heliostats are aligned and controlled using advanced software algorithms to precisely focus the sun’s energy. eSolar’s technology is architected to provide modular fields that maximize energy production, are scalable to meet a wide range of customers’ power generation needs, while also enabling rapid, lower cost deployment.

On June 7, 2011 GE’s (NYSE: GE) FlexEfficiency* technology has been selected for an innovative new power plant being developed by MetCap Energy Investments, a Turkish project developer.... The project will produce the world’s first Integrated Renewables Combined Cycle (IRCC) Power Plant. The FlexEfficiency 50 IRCC plant is designed for flexible operation by integrating a next-generation 50 Hz 9FB Gas Turbine, a steam turbine, a generator, 22 MW of GE wind turbines and 50 MW of eSolar concentrated solar thermal tower technology, all integrated by a GE Mark* VIe plant control system.... At MetCap’s site conditions, we will achieve 69 percent plant efficiency, and this technology provides the capability to deliver efficiency greater than 70 percent at Gas Turbine World conditions,” said Paul Browning, president and CEO—thermal products for GE Energy.... The power plant will be located in Karaman, Turkey, and will be rated at 530 megawatts at site conditions, which is enough energy to power more than 600,000 homes. It is scheduled to enter commercial operation in 2015....

Press Releases dated May 24, June 3, 6 and 7, 2011

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