POWER Digest (August 2012)

FP&L to Increase Output at Turkey Point. Florida Power & Light (FP&L) on June 19 received approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to increase the power generating capacity of Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Units 3 and 4 by 15%. The power uprate for the pressurized water reactors will increase each unit’s capacity from approximately 700 MWe to 823 MWe.

ThermoEnergy, ITEA Partner on Pressurized Oxy-Combustion Technology. Massachusetts–based ThermoEnergy Corp. and Italian company ITEA SpA on June 14 said they would collaborate to promote, finance, design, and construct a 50-MW pilot plant and a 320-MW commercial facility in the U.S. using a clean coal technology called pressurized oxy-combustion. The technology could enable utilities to continue burning inexpensive and abundant coal while virtually eliminating both the traditional pollution (such as sulfur dioxide) from coal plants and the emissions of carbon dioxide, and it can be retrofitted to existing coal plants, the companies said. The clean coal technology will be developed and marketed by Unity Power Alliance LLC, a joint venture of ITEA and ThermoEnergy.

EU Backs Construction of Lithuanian Nuclear Plant. The European Commission on June 8 issued a favorable opinion for the construction of the Visaginas nuclear power plant in Lithuania, saying it could fulfill the country’s goal to be energy independent. However, it stressed that the plant should seek to remain economically viable even though two new reactors could be built in the vicinity in the near future. If built, the Visaginas plant will be the first nuclear energy project in the EU’s Baltic region. Neighboring Belarus is planning to build a nuclear plant with Russian technology, and Russia has begun building a nuclear plant in Kaliningrad, which also borders Lithuania. According to Rosatom, the Russian nuclear energy state corporation, 49% of the shares of the Kaliningrad plant will be offered to EU companies, making it the first Russian nuclear power plant with foreign participation.

The €5 billion (US$6.2 billion) Visaginas plant will be built at the site of the Soviet-era Ignalina nuclear station that was shut down in 2009. The Visaginas plant will be equipped with a Hitachi-GE advanced boiling water reactor. Construction is expected to start in 2015, and commercial operation is expected between 2020 and 2022.

Black & Veatch Wins Series of Advanced Gas Turbine Projects in China. Black & Veatch was in June selected by China’s Harbin Electric Co. Ltd. to help deliver three combined cycle power plants in China. Located in Zhejiang Province, Guangdong Province, and the Beijing region, the plants will deploy advanced gas turbine technology. Together, the three plants will produce approximately 3,000 MW of gas-fired electricity and alleviate industrial power and steam supply shortages. The three plants will feature heavy-duty combustion turbines. “The Gaojing combined cycle power plant will deploy a level of combustion turbine technology that has yet to feature in mainland China,” said Dr. Suqing Wang, senior project manager for Black & Veatch’s global energy business.

Synthesis Completes Testing of Turkish Lignite Coals. Synthesis Energy Systems on June 29 said it had completed testing of three Turkish lignite coals and obtained positive data. The lignite coal projects are being developed for clean coal–based power generation projects and are being developed by independent power project development company TUTEN for an undisclosed local utility company. Synthesis Energy undertook the coal tests using its fluidized bed gasification technology and indicated that each coal achieved single-pass carbon conversions of between 96% and 99.5%. The test results will be used by TUTEN’s project sponsor to proceed with its project development activities using local, low-grade, low-cost lignite that is unsuitable for conventional power generation.

Synthesis Energy has teamed with TUTEN and Slovakia-based Istroenergo Group to build a conceptual-level design application for 50-MW and 100-MW size power generation modules for the lignite fuel project. The plant design employs coal gasification and aeroderivative power generation, integrating Synthesis Energy’s technology for synthesis gas production and would support a General Electric (GE) LM2500+G4 aeroderivative gas turbine in combined cycle for 50 MW to 100 MW power capacity.

Iraq Commissions New Gas Plant. The Iraq Ministry of Electricity (MOE) has commissioned the new 160-MW Taji power plant featuring GE technology northeast of Baghdad. The plant comprises four Frame 6B gas turbines delivered by GE, which is also supplying similar equipment for two other new power plants in Hilla and Karbala that are slated to be operational in 2012. The company will also provide the MOE with an estimated 56 gas turbines for projects across Iraq that are expected to enter service beginning in 2012, adding more than 7,000 MW of electricity to support the country’s energy infrastructure.

Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.