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GE’s New Power Portfolio

GE Launches FlexEfficiency 60 Technology to power new projects in U.S., Saudi Arabia, Japan; announces nearly US$1.2 billion in new orders

Posted on October 29, 2012

GE unveiled its new FlexEfficiency 60 power generation portfolio, engineered to harness natural gas and enable greater use of renewable energy. The FlexEfficiency 60 portfolio combines efficiency, which will reduce emissions and save money (compared to prior GE configurations), along with flexibility to rapidly increase or decrease its power output in response to fluctuations in wind and solar power, enabling the integration of more renewable resources onto the power grid.

Power grids around the world are split into two frequencies — 50 Hz (Europe, much of Asia and Africa) and 60 Hz (North America, much of South America, Saudi Arabia, southern Japan, Korea, and Taiwan). GE first developed FlexEfficiency technology for customers in the 50-Hz world. Like its 50-Hz counterpart — the FlexEfficiency 50 plant introduced in 2011— the FlexEfficiency 60 plant enables utilities to deliver power quickly when it is needed and to ramp down when it is not, balancing the grid cost-effectively. The FlexEfficiency 60 portfolio marks the expansion of this technology to the rest of the world, allowing efficient partnering of natural gas and renewable energy, GE said.

“This is a great milestone for our natural gas portfolio. We stated a year ago that we would bring our FlexEfficiency technology to our customers in places such as the U.S., the Middle East, Japan and Brazil, and we have delivered,” said Steve Bolze, president and CEO, GE Power & Water. “We continue to invest in and build the broadest gas-fuelled power generation portfolio in the industry. From 1 MW distributed power to 300 MW base-load power, GE technology helps meet the power needs of people everywhere in the world.”

The newest member of GE’s ecomagination portfolio, the FlexEfficiency 60 plant is configured to take on the world’s toughest environmental challenges, avoiding up to 56 000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year relative to existing technology, the company said. If just one equivalent-size coal plant was replaced with the FlexEfficiency 60 plant, the offset carbon emissions would be 2.6 million tonnes per year, the equivalent of 500 000 U.S. cars coming off the road, GE said.

The FlexEfficiency 60 portfolio will include four gas turbines covering a range of customer needs. The newest is the 7F 7-series, with greater than 61% efficiency in combined-cycle operation and more than 40% efficiency in simple-cycle operation, GE said. The latest evolution in the F-class platform, GE’s 7F 7-series gas turbine features a quick start capability of 10 minutes to gas turbine base-load and a Dry Low NOx (DLN) 2.6+AFS (Axial Fuel Staged) combustion system that enables turndown to 20% of gas turbine base-load while accommodating fuel composition variance and maintaining emissions guarantees.

Key highlights of the 7F 7-Series are a 50 MW/min ramp rate per gas turbine (within emissions guarantees); a four-stage hot gas path with advanced cooling and sealing for improved efficiency and more starts per inspection interval; an advanced 3-D aerodynamic 14-stage compressor for improved operating flexibility and fuel efficiency; and a simplified air-cooled architecture combined with proven materials for the lowest life cycle cost per produced MW in its class, the company said. The 7F 7-series gas turbine fuel flexible feature offers operation on a wide range of natural gas or distillate fuel, allowing operators higher availability during gas disruptions, GE said.

The FlexEfficiency 60 portfolio also includes an enhanced D-17 steam turbine, H26 hydrogen-cooled generator and Mark* VIe Integrated Control System that can be configured into the FlexEfficiency 60 combined-cycle power plant. FlexEfficiency 60 technology will be manufactured and tested at the GE gas turbine manufacturing and testing facility in Greenville, South Carolina, U.S.A. New gas turbines undergo full-speed, full-load off-grid testing before being shipped around the world from this facility.

GE also announced the flexible 7F 5-series: both these technologies are available to customers today. GE said a new 7F 9-series — configured to be the largest and most efficient in the portfolio — and an enhanced 7F 3-series will be available in the future. Combined, the portfolio offers a power range of advanced gas turbines from 185 MW to more than 300 MW.

GE also announced that the company has secured nearly US$1.2 billion in new orders for FlexEfficiency 60 technology for projects in the United States, Saudi Arabia and Japan, demonstrating strong international demand for technology that can provide efficient base-load power and pair natural gas with renewables.

The US$1.2 billion in new sales is comprised of orders for 19 gas turbines — 13 for the 7F 5-series gas turbine and six for the new, larger 7F 7-series gas turbine, GE said. The 7F 7-series builds on the 7F 5-series and GE’s F-class technology and is based on GE’s Aviation and power generation businesses, the company said.

FlexEfficiency 60 portfolio projects include a close partnership with Chubu Electric Power in Japan. GE will ship six 7F 7-series gas turbines to Chubu Electric Power Co. Inc.’s Nishi-Nagoya thermal power plant in Nagoya, Japan. The plant will support the government’s initiative for cleaner, more efficient energy production and will produce more than 2300 MW in combined-cycle operation. GE will supply the six 7F 7-series gas turbines to Toshiba, the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project. The first unit will be shipped in February 2016, with all six turbines expected to be in service by March 2018. In addition to the equipment, GE will supply parts for the project. 

In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, GE will supply eight 7F 5-series gas turbine generators for the expansion of Saudi Electricity Company’s (SEC) PP12 project, which will add nearly 2000 MW of power to help SEC meet its future electricity demands when it enters commercial operation in 2015. PP12 will be the largest air-cooled, combined-cycle project in Saudi Arabia using GE’s F-class gas turbines. The gas turbines will burn natural gas provided by the Saudi national oil and gas company, Saudi Aramco. The machines will be equipped with GE’s latest dry low NOx combustion technology to reduce emissions, extend maintenance intervals and enable the plant to operate more flexibly, the company said.

In addition to the supply of the eight gas turbine-generators, the contract includes technical direction for the installation of the units, spare parts, commissioning support and training. PP12 is part of Saudi Arabia’s plans to add 33 GW of power generation capacity by 2020.

“PP12 marks another technology milestone for GE in Saudi Arabia, as it will feature the first application of our 7F 5-series gas turbines in the region and is part of our FlexEfficiency portfolio of products,” said Joseph Anis, president and CEO for GE Energy in the Middle East.

The PP12 project is located adjacent to Riyadh PP11, an independent power plant also featuring GE technology that will add more than 1700 MW of power to the SEC grid. Earlier this year, GE also announced it would provide steam turbines for the conversion of SEC’s PP10 project from simple to combined-cycle, which will add 1300 MW of new power to the grid.

“As this newest agreement and other recent projects demonstrate, we are committed to supporting the Kingdom in meeting its growing energy demands,” Anis said. In December 2011, GE signed contracts with SEC to supply 13 gas turbines for the expansion of six power plants across Saudi Arabia.

 “GE is a trusted technology partner that has supported almost 40 of our projects over the last four decades,” said Eng. Ali Saleh Al Barrak, president and CEO of SEC. “For this important initiative, which will enable us to provide the additional electricity that will be needed to support Saudi Arabia’s on-going economic growth, we have selected GE’s proven F-class technology.”

To power the Cherokee Clean Air Clean Jobs Project in Denver, Colorado, U.S.A., GE will provide two GE 7F 5-series gas turbines, which will convert an existing coal plant into a cleaner burning, natural gas combined-cycle facility. The Cherokee repowering project is part of Colorado’s Clean Air Clean Jobs Act passed in 2010, which helps retire or retrofit the state’s coal plants.

The new plant will be owned and operated by the Public Service Company of Colorado, a whollyowned subsidiary of Xcel Energy, a major U.S. electric and natural gas company. GE expects to ship the gas turbines in the fourth quarter of 2013, with commercial operation beginning in the fourth quarter of 2015. GE will also supply technical direction, training and spare parts.

GE will provide two 7F 5-series gas turbines and a GE D11 steam turbine to Hess Corporation for an upcoming project in the U.S., as well as one 7F 5-series gas turbine to a customer in the Western U.S. for an industrial application. This new combined-cycle power plant will repower coal-fired steam turbines with cleaner, flexible natural gas, GE said.

“Our expanded portfolio of large block gas turbines enables us to meet the complex and diverse energy and resource needs of our global customers today and in the future,” said Paul Browning, president and CEO, GE Thermal Products, GE Power & Water.