NTE Energy on August 28 formally began operations of its 475-MW Kings Mountain Energy Center (KMEC) natural gas–fired plant in Cleveland County, North Carolina, marking the third major milestone in recent months for gas-turbine giant Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) Americas.

The $500 million KMEC facility features MHPS G-Series advanced-class gas turbine technology. Owned and operated by NTE Carolinas LLC, KMEC began operations three months after NTE Energy opened its 525-MW Middletown Energy Center in Butler County, Ohio, which also features MHPS G-Series technology. That plant is powered by a M501GAC gas turbine and technology in a combined cycle alignment. 

On August 23, MHPS also announced successful first fire for Dominion Energy’s 1,558-MW Greensville County Power Station located in Emporia, Virginia. That plant operates three M501J gas turbines supplied by Mitsubishi. The three J-Series turbines, which MHPS said “are the cornerstone of the largest and cleanest gas-fired power block ever operated inside the U.S,” are the first to come online in the U.S. since Unit 3 at the Grand River Energy Center in Chouteau, Oklahoma, came online in April 2017. (The project was a POWER 2017 gas-fired Top Plant.)

“One of the keys to success with the Greensville project included on-time delivery by MHPS for all three M501J gas turbines,” the company said in a statement. “Each unit completed installation to support the project’s projected in-service date, and all units synchronized flawlessly as they connected to the grid throughout the past 6 weeks, hallmarked by Unit 1A synchronizing to the grid earlier this month.” The project is slated to be commercially operational by the end of 2018. 

POWER reported in May that MHPS received more than half of all global orders for gas-fueled turbines in the first quarter of 2018. Earlier this month, MHPS said it continues to lead the global market for gas turbines, capturing 40% of the total market through the second quarter of this year. “In the highly competitive market segment of F-Class and larger, MHPS had 56% market share, mainly due to large orders of their industry leading JAC gas turbine,” the company said. 

According to MHPS, industry is embracing MHPS’s products as it shifts from older F-Class technology to more efficient and affordable advanced-class gas turbine technology. “MHPS has the world’s largest installed fleet of advanced-class gas turbines, leading the industry with a reliability of 99.3% and efficiency greater than 64%,” the company said. It noted that industry estimates predict that full-year orders will be about 30 GW in 2018. “To date, MHPS has already secured 7.8 GW of orders, meaning they have already captured more than 25% of the expected annual orders with more to come in the second half of the year.”

MHPS said in a statement on August 28 that the G-Series turbine model in use at KMEC was the industry’s first advanced-class gas turbine. The model has since surpassed 4 million operating hours (equivalent to 500 years of operation) while achieving an industry-leading reliability of 99.22%.  MHPS manufactured the gas turbine for KMEC at Savannah Machinery Works (SMW), a manufacturing facility located in Savannah, Georgia.

According to MHPS Americas President and CEO Paul Browning, the two NTE plants signal “change in power to the U.S.” Browning noted that MHPS leads all original equipment manufacturers in the development and delivery of 60-Hz advanced-class gas turbines rated above 250 MW. “With 158 units ordered since their first delivery in 2001, MHPS is the global fleet leader for Advanced-Class Gas Turbines,” the company said. “The MHPS process of buying serial number 1 of any new technology and generating 8,000 hours of electricity in their own combined cycle power plant in Takasago, Japan has proven decisive in allowing them to achieve industry-leading reliability.”

KMEC also uses MHPS’s TOMONI artificial intelligence. “The use of AI allows for more flexible operation that complements renewable power, and provides advanced analytics and machine learning that greatly reduce unplanned maintenance,” Browning said. 

—Sonal Patel is a POWER associate editor (@sonalcpatel, @POWERmagazine)