GE gas turbine packages picked to bridge power gap

By Jack Burke10 February 2021

Colorado utility purchases mobile packages

GE will supply six of its LM250XPRESS aeroderivative gas turbine packages as Colorado Springs Utilities moves to close a coal-fired power plant earlier than planned.

The packages will help Springs Utilities bridge the gap and power the downtown area until a new transmission line is completed in 2025, the company said.

The LM2500XPRESS from GE will help Colorado Springs Utilities ensure reliable and flexible power to enhance grid stability and renewables growth .

In alignment with Colorado’s goals to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, electricity generation, and other sectors, Colorado Springs Utilities’ Board committed to retiring the coal-fired Martin Drake Power Plant by Dec. 31, 2022—12 years earlier than previously planned.

GE said the recently debuted LM2500XPRESS power plant technology will help Springs Utilities acquire the flexibility it needs to bring more renewables onto its system and move forward with the retirement of Martin Drake. Consistent with their Energy Vision, they are now on the path to reduce carbon emissions from their electricity service by at least 80% by 2030, from 2005 levels.

The 34-MW LM2500XPRESS units are the first of their kind to be installed in North America and expected to start commercial operation by the summer of 2022. Using the highly mobile nature of the units—which can be moved on trailers—the LM2500XPRESS units will eventually be relocated to other sites in the Colorado Springs area.

“The LM2500XPRESS units were purchased to provide safe, affordable and reliable generation to support the increased use of renewable solar and wind power,” said Colorado Springs Utilities CEO Aram Benyamin. “These natural gas units will help us better integrate renewable energy sources, further reduce CO2 emissions, and accelerate the retirement of the Martin Drake Power Plant.”

GE’s LM2500XPRESS power generators are 95% factory assembled into simplified modules and provide a “plug and play” concept that can be installed in less than three weeks. This makes the units suitable to bring fast power to the grid when needed. Each power block comprises a GE LM2500 aeroderivative gas turbine modular package, gas compressor and emissions control system. In addition, there is a black start diesel generator included to provide start-up capability in case of grid events.

The LM2500XPRESS is engineered to be faster to install, save cost on coal-to-gas transition, and respond to intermittent renewable resources quickly and easily. The units provide dual-fuel capability, primarily burning natural gas, and can use liquid fuels to help meet periods of low natural gas availability. An advanced emissions control system uses a dry low emission (“DLE”) combustion system that cuts down on water use, and an oxidation catalyst to reduce emissions from these units.

“GE is committed to a decade of action for industry-wide decarbonization through the strategic and accelerated deployment of complementary gas and renewable energy technologies,” said Eric Gray, CEO of GE Gas Power for the Americas. “We are pleased to help Colorado Springs Utilities’ achieve a faster path toward decarbonization using GE’s LM2500XPRESS units. The flexible concept of this breakthrough technology made it Springs Utilities’ ideal choice with a quick installation, small footprint, and the ability to easily relocate the equipment in the future.”

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