General Electric Corp. is introducing a new line of gas-powered electrical turbines it intends to pair with renewable energy sources in a new model for alternative-energy projects. The GE FlexEfficiency 60 power generation portfolio is designed for natural gas and combines “record-breaking efficiency” and flexibility, to cut carbon emissions and save costs compared to prior GE configurations. The turbine manufacturer predicted that utilities would be able to deliver power quickly, as needed by consumers, and to cut back the operation to balance the grid.
GE also announced nearly $1.2 billion in new orders for FlexEfficiency 60 technology for projects in the U.S, Japan, and Saudi Arabia, and Japan.
The new turbines are targeted at markets where power is transmitted at a frequency of 60 Hz (which includes the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Japan and Saudi Arabia.) A comparable version of the technology is available already for markets (including the EU, China, Australia, and Africa) where power is transmitted at 50 Hz.
The FlexEfficiency 60 Portfolio will include four gas turbines in different configurations, in ratings from 185 MW to over 300 MW.The new portfolio also includes an enhanced steam turbine, hydrogen-cooled generator, and integrated control system that can be configured into the FlexEfficiency 60 combined-cycle power plant.
FlexEfficiency 60 turbines will be manufactured and tested at GE’s manufacturing plant in Greenville, S.C., the world’s largest gas turbine plant. Following development costs of $500 million for the new portfolio, GE also installed $170-million testing center at that location.
The core of the FlexEfficiency 60 package is a Combined-Cycle Power Plant capable of exceeding 61% thermal efficiency, and able to rapidly increase or decrease its power output quickly in response to fluctuations in wind and solar power, making it a suitable complement to that will enhance those projects.
“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., Middle East, Japan and Brazil, and today we delivered,” stated Steve Bolze, president and CEO of GE Power & Water. “We continue to invest in and build the broadest gas-fueled power generation portfolio in the industry.”
The 19 gas turbines represented by the $1.2 billion in new orders includes two units to be installed at a new power plant being developed by Public Service Co. of Colorado (an Xcel Energy subsidiary); and two other U.S. projects involving a total of three turbines. Chubu Electric Power in Japan has ordered six gas turbines, and eight more have been ordered for a Saudi Electricity Co. plant.
“Today’s announcement positions GE with the broadest, most comprehensive gas turbine portfolio, delivering a combination of record-setting efficiency and flexibility,” Paul Browning, president and CEO, GE Thermal Products business, stated. “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.”