The Edward W. Clark Generating Station, which has supplied electricity to the Las Vegas Strip for more than half a century, has learned the secret of life in the desert: adaptability. The plant’s early years featured conventional steam plants operated around the clock. By mid-life, Clark had been upgraded with two combustion turbine combined-cycle power blocks operated as intermediate-load resource. Today, the old steam plants have been replaced with fast-start peaking gas turbines.
Over the past decade, the development of new natural gas – fired generating assets has been similar to an amusement park roller coaster ride — very high peaks and the lowest of lows, with fast and stomach-churning movement between. Expect the ride to continue into the near future.
Uncertainty about CO2 emissions legislation is prompting power plant owners to consider the possibility of accommodating "add-on" CO2 capture and sequestration solutions for coal-fired plants in the future. Those same plant owners may be overlooking the possibility that future natural gas – fired combined cycles will also be subject to CO2 capture requirements. This month we examine the capture options. In a future issue, Part II will present the installation and operating costs of different carbon capture technologies.
If a number of technical, financial, and regulatory hurdles can be overcome, power generated by integrated gasification combined-cycle technology could become an important source for U.S. utilities. Our overview presents diverse perspectives from three industry experts about what it will take to move this technology off the design table and into the field.
The Hague’s century-old power plant, now owned by E.ON, provides electricity to the local grid and thermal energy for the city’s district heating system. Poor performance from the plant’s 25-year-old equipment and The Hague’s wish to become a carbon-neutral city by 2010 gave birth to the idea of repowering the existing plant. For protecting a historic building while investing in low-emissions electricity generation, achieving improved plant efficiency and reliability, and accelerating the project so the plant could be back online for the next heating season, The Hague Repowering Project is the winner of POWER’s 2009 Marmaduke Award for excellence in O&M. The award is named for Marmaduke Surfaceblow, the fictional marine engineer and plant troubleshooter par excellence.
To supplement domestic natural gas supplies, the U.S. is expected to increase its dependence on offshore liquefied natural gas suppliers in the coming years. However, the composition and hydrocarbon content of imported LNG may significantly vary from those of North American sources. Variation in fuel composition may lead to plants using fuel that violates their combustion turbine fuel specifications and may cause operational problems.
Increasingly fierce competition driven by deregulation and privatization is putting downward pressure on power plant operations and maintenance (O&M) budgets. Recently, lower natural gas prices have pushed natural gas – fired combined-cycle plants higher up in many utilities’ dispatch order in some regions, a welcome change from the twice-a-day cycling experienced by some plants during the past few years. However, with more operating hours comes more interest in plant operating availability, and that means increased emphasis on reliable gas turbine operation.
The gas-rich Persian Gulf state of Qatar in May commenced construction of the region’s largest power and water plant, a massive project comprising eight gas turbine generators, eight heat-recovery steam generators, four steam turbine generators, and 10 desalination units.
This March, Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) quietly completed development of the "J-series" gas turbine — a machine that has been extolled in the turbo-machinery world for its ability to produce one of the world’s largest power generation capacities and highest thermal efficiencies.