Archive: Gas

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Nordic Nations Provide Clean Energy Leadership

In the past few years, nuclear concerns, rising oil prices, and a growing understanding of our environmental impact has given energy issues a higher profile worldwide. In this report on the Continental Nordic countries, we look at the efforts being made in much of the Nordic region to secure a sustainable energy supply for the future and at the extent to which the innovative solutions of these countries can be exported around the globe.

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Blackout Leaves Southwest in the Dark

A large swath of Southern California, parts of Arizona, and Northern Baja Mexico was blacked out on Sept. 8—leaving seven million people in the dark—after an Arizona utility worker fixing faulty equipment near Yuma reportedly tripped the 500-kV North Gila–Imperial Valley transmission line, causing the outage. The blackout prompted two units at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station to go offline, stranded many people in elevators and trains, shut down airports, cut air conditioning on a day well above 90F, and caused damages of $97 million to $118 million, according to early estimates from the National University System’s Institute for Policy Research.

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Kuwait Starts First Turbines of 2,000-MW Gas Plant

Kuwait put online the first 1,400 MW of its massive 2,000-MW combined cycle gas turbine Sabiya facility in June to mitigate looming power shortages it faces each summer. The plant—Kuwait’s largest power plant and one of the largest in the Gulf region—is now operating six GE 9FA gas turbines; the remaining 600 MW are expected […]

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New Peaking Plant to Balance California’s Renewables

As utilities in California are scrambling to meet the state’s 33% renewable mandate by 2020, a 49.6-MW peaking plant in Modesto, Calif., built by Finnish firm Wärtsilä for the Modesto Irrigation District, has been commissioned to provide flexible, fast-start peaking generation to balance the state’s increase in intermittent renewable generation (Figure 4). 4. Flexible peaking. […]

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Who Pays for Firming Up Variable Energy Resources?

The major economic hurdle for renewable power generation technologies continues to be substantial installation costs. But another cost is associated with continuous load-balancing, made possible by backstopping that variable generation with dispatchable generators that typically consume expensive fossil fuels. Bottom line: Who pays for the capacity firming or backstopping resources?

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Best Practices for Natural Gas Line Cleaning

As barriers to new coal-fired generation expand and enthusiasm for nuclear plants wanes, the commissioning of natural gas–fired plants promises to increase. However, gas plants pose hazards, too. An explosion last year that was caused by unsafe use of natural gas to blow residue from a gas pipeline during commissioning of a gas-fired power plant has focused regulator and industry attention on finding safer alternatives for this task. Fluor shares its gas pipeline cleaning best practices.

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Global Gas Glut

Marcellus Shale gas has increased recoverable natural gas reserves in the U.S. by about a third over estimates prepared a few years ago. Europe is also exploring shale gas as an alternative to problematic Russian gas supplies and low proven natural gas reserves. POWER contributors in the U.S. and UK examine the comparative economic value, public acceptance, and political implications of these massive shale gas reserves.

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Top Plant: Irsching 4 Combined Cycle Power Plant, Irsching, Bavaria, Germany

The Irsching 4 Combined Cycle Power Plant has set a new world record in power plant efficiency with its new SGT5-8000H gas turbine. With an output of more than 578 MW and efficiency of 60.75% (net) achieved at a world record test run in May 2011, the plant demonstrates that climate protection, low-cost power generation, and flexible operation using fossil fuels can be attained simultaneously through technical advances. Due to its high efficiency, the gas-fired plant uses significantly less fuel and produces lower carbon dioxide emissions than traditional combined cycle plants.

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Top Plant: Emirates Aluminum Smelter Complex (EMAL), Al-Taweelah, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

The new 2,100-MW Phase 1 EMAL combined cycle power plant provides dedicated power with a high level of reliability to the Emirates Aluminum Smelter Complex, which is designed to be the world’s largest aluminum smelter upon completion. Located on the Persian Gulf, the gas-fired combined cycle plant uses seawater cooling towers to eliminate thermal stress on local marine life.