A new natural gas-fired power plant has entered commercial operation in Ohio. The 1,875-MW Guernsey Power Station, in Guernsey County in southeastern Ohio, is sourcing gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays, two of the most-prolific natural gas production areas in the U.S.
GE Vernova’s Gas Power division on June 7 said the plant is powered by GE’s HA Class turbine technology. The company touts the $1.7 billion Guernsey facility as the latest gas-fired plant replacing coal-fired generation in the PJM regional transmission organization territory, which covers all or part of 13 states, including Ohio, and the District of Columbia. Construction of the plant began in 2019.
PJM officials in a recent report, titled “Energy Transition in PJM: Resource Retirements, Replacements & Risks,” said the retirement of coal-fired generation in that market could outpace new power generation resources. The grid operator said the expected increase in power demand in the region could create concerns about resource adequacy and grid stability across PJM, meaning more baseload power sources are expected to be needed.
Coal Plant Retirements
“In 2022, coal-fired plant retirements accounted for approximately 89% of retired capacity in the PJM region and as more and more coal-fired plants are retired, the need for thermal resources and the essential reliable and flexible power they provide is crucial for grid stability and to help meet the increasing demand for power,” said Ross D. Ain, president of Caithness Energy, the plant’s developer, in a news release. “GE’s gas turbines are among the largest and most-efficient gas turbines in the world, and operating flexibility may be considered as the key feature of [the] Guernsey plant.”
Ain said the Guernsey site “had a benefit of a very large natural gas pipeline running across the site and a very large electric transmission line, and those were key elements of building a plant of this size.”
Frank LaRose, Ohio’s secretary of state, said, “Ongoing, we’re talking over $100 million in local investment, economic impact that’s a result of this plant and the many of hundreds of people that will be working at this plant.”
Ain said the new facility is “powered by three GE 7HA.02 gas turbines in a single-shaft combined cycle configuration, the largest of this kind in the United States. We trust GE’s equipment will help us turn current energy transition challenges into the opportunity to drive carbon emissions reduction in the energy sector through the deployment of new flexible, much more efficient, and cleaner gas-fired plants to substitute for older, less-efficient units.”
The plant’s feedstock gas is supplied via the Rockies Express Gas Pipeline, which carries natural gas both east and west between Wyoming and Ohio.
Along with the 7HA.02 turbines, the plant is equipped with three W84 generators, three STF-A650 steam turbines, and three GE triple pressure with reheat Heat Recovery Steam Generators, or HRSGs. It uses combined-cycle technology consisting of both natural gas-powered turbines and steam-powered turbines.
GE said the “combined-cycle configuration captures the excess heat generated by the gas turbines and, rather than releasing that heat into the air, uses the excess heat to make steam to power the steam turbines, while generating significantly more electricity—up to 50%—from the same amount of fuel as a simple cycle plant.”
GE also has a 20-year services agreement for the power station. The company said it also will provide cloud-based predictive analytics through GE Digital’s Asset Performance Management (APM) software. The APM Reliability software will help predict potential asset failures and reduce unplanned downtime, while improving power plant productivity and reliability, according to GE.
“We are proud that our advanced HA combined cycle equipment started to provide efficient, flexible and reliable electricity at Guernsey Power Station,” said Dave Ross, CEO of GE Gas Power in the Americas. “Gas power plays a crucial role in the energy transition, helping to balance the variable nature of renewables and ensuring system reliability. Our 7HA.02 gas turbines, which can burn up to 20% hydrogen with plans to transition to 100% hydrogen over the next decade, are a highly efficient energy solution to help power plant operators, like Caithness Energy, to advance their carbon emissions reduction goals. In addition, our services and digital solutions will be crucial to improve Guersey plant’s performance and availability.”
GE on Wednesday said the 7HA gas turbine has operated at 64% combined cycle efficiency. The company said the turbine’s enhanced fuel flexibility can accommodate several fuels, including hydrogen, along with diesel and crude oil.
—Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).