Top Plant: Langage Combined Cycle Power Plant, Plymouth, Devon, UK
The UK grid, focused on adding valuable renewable generation, will rely on natural gas–fired generation for many years to come. One of the most recent additions is the Langage Power Plant, designed for quick response and low load “parking” at night while remaining below air emissions limits. With an extraordinary architectural design that blends into the natural surroundings, Langage is now a local landmark.
Top Plant: Panoche Energy Center, Firebaugh, California
The Panoche Energy Center is a 400-MW simple-cycle power plant using four of General Electric’s GE LMS100s with fast-start capability. Dispatched by Pacific Gas & Electric to meet regional power and grid stabilization needs, the project entered commercial service two months earlier than planned. Panoche is the largest LMS100 peaking facility in the U.S.
Top Plant: West County Energy Center, Palm Beach County, Florida
The 3,600-MW West County Energy Center, with two recently commissioned power blocks and a third just entering start-up, is the first “greenfield” combined-cycle plant constructed by FPL since the 1970s. Thanks to FPL’s long history with repowering projects, the project team commissioned Unit 2 seven months early, with no operator errors during start-up. At just over $600/kW, the cost of the plant was a bargain.
Top Plant: Ras Laffan Power and Water Plant, Ras Laffan Industrial City, Qatar
At the Ras Laffan Power Co. facility, the 756-MW net combined-cycle plant and the integrated 40 million gallons per day desalination plant are working in tandem to provide abundant, reliable electricity and desalinated water to residents of the State of Qatar, the most prosperous nation in the Middle East.
Top Plant: Sloe Centrale Power Plant, Vlissingen-Oost, Zeeland Province, Netherlands
There’s nothing slow about the fast-track operations at the new 870-MW Sloe Centrale Power Plant. The combined-cycle plant is designed for 250 starts per year and is capable of supplying power to the grid within a mere 30 to 40 minutes. In addition to its impressive rapid load response, the gas-fired plant produces low CO2 and NOx emissions by using the latest technology. It also attains an efficiency of 59%.
Top Plant: Timelkam Power Plant Vöcklabruck District, Upper Austria, Austria
Now that the 412-MW Timelkam Power Plant has replaced a 47-year-old coal-fired power plant located in the Vöcklabruck District, northern Austrians can bid auf wiedersehen (goodbye) to high levels of air pollution. Compared to its predecessor, the new gas-fired combined-cycle plant has dramatically cut CO2 and NOx emissions and produces seven times more energy.
Bulk Storage Could Optimize Renewable Energy
A defining challenge for the U.S. electricity industry is to economically integrate renewable energy facilities into grid operations without sacrificing reliability. Bulk energy storage options are commercially proven technologies that enable that integration most expediently. Existing and emerging national and state policy frameworks are supporting their application in projects under development throughout the country.
Feed-in-Tariffs Around the WorldFeed-in-tariffs (FITs)—above-retail rates paid for renewable power that producers "feed" into the grid—are gaining momentum all over the world as a means of driving project growth. Here are some of those established and proposed FITs.
Flexible Turbine Operation Is Vital for a Robust Grid
Renewable electricity generation has many environmental advantages, but adding large amounts of far-flung renewable resources to a grid requires increased operating flexibility from dispatchable generators when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine. One promising option: A combined-cycle plant based on Alstom’s GT24/GT26 combustion turbine can be “parked” at approximately 20% plant load while producing emissions comparable to those during baseload operation—with little loss in thermal efficiency. When demand returns, the combined cycle can return to baseload within minutes.
Industry Trends: Map of Natural Gas Generation in North AmericaCourtesy: Platts Data source: POWERmap All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed.
Taming Condenser Tube Leaks, Part I
Summer peaks are still with us, and every unit on your system must be prepared to operate at a moment’s notice. Spot power prices are so high that you expect phone calls asking for a few more megawatts from your units. Then your plant chemistry lab calls to report a condenser tube leak. Your options are few: Shut down immediately and get charged with a forced outage, ignore the leak and keeping running until fall, or schedule a maintenance outage next weekend and hope the leak can be found and fixed. In Part I, we examine what you need to know in order to make an informed decision. In Part II, we’ll explore the actual damage mechanisms.
The Feed-in Tariff Factor
Most countries are trying to increase the percentage of their electricity supply that comes from renewable sources. But because capital costs for renewable generation still, in most cases, are higher per kilowatt-hour than for fossil-fueled power, governments are looking at all options for encouraging the development of greater renewable capacity. Feed-in tariffs (FITs) are one policy tool that has been used, most notably in Europe. Now North America is testing FITs as well.
U.S. Gas-Fired Power Development: Last Man Standing
In 2010, U.S. wind power development has slowed, coal-fired power development remained stalled, and the much-awaited renaissance of nuclear power took a few tentative steps forward. That left natural gas power development as the last man standing.