Mitsubishi Hitachi signs $77.8 million deal for 501J gas turbine


Dan Sullivan, CEO of the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA), and Yoshihiro Shiraiwa, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas, sign an agreement for the 501J gas turbine during a public gathering at the GRDA Engineering and Technology Center in Tulsa.

By Russell Ray, Managing Editor

A deal to build what may be the most efficient combined cycle power plant in the U.S. was finalized last week in Tulsa, Okla.

Executives from Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems and officers from the Grand River Dam Authority gathered in Tulsa on March 21 to sign contracts for a 328-MW gas turbine known as the 501J and a 167-MW steam turbine. The 495-MW unit will replace an old coal-fired unit at the Grand River Energy Center near Chouteau, Okla.   

The project is the first of its kind in the Western world. The J-Series gas turbine is the largest and most efficient gas turbine in the world, according to Mitsubishi Hitachi. Nine are in commercial operation worldwide, including six in South Korea.

“One of the big features of this machine is its efficiency,” said Bill Newsom, vice president of New Equipment Sales & Commercial Operations for Mitsubishi Hitachi. “At 50 percent output, you’re still above 55 percent combined cycle efficiency.”

The new combined cycle plant is expected to be up and running in spring 2017.

“This unit has the potential to be the most efficient combined cycle plant in the country,” said Charles Barney, assistant general manager of thermal generation for GRDA.

Combined cycle plants feature gas and steam turbines. The gas turbine generates electricity using natural gas, while the steam turbine generates electricity using waste heat from the gas turbine. The process is highly efficient because the exhaust heat, which would otherwise be lost in the stack, is re-used in the steam turbine to generate additional electricity. The exhaust heat is sent to a heat recovery steam generator, where the heat is absorbed by heat exchanger tubes containing hot water to creat steam for the steam turbine.

Dan Sullivan, GRDA CEO, and Yoshihiro Shiraiwa, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas (MHPSA), signed the agreement during a public gathering at the GRDA Engineering and Technology Center in Tulsa. Also present were Takato Nishizawa, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS), and Yasuo Fujitani, senior executive vice president of MHPS.

“Part of the GRDA Board’s strategy is to reduce our reliance on coal,” Sullivan said. “We can achieve some of that with this new facility.”

Yashihiro said the GRDA deal will be the first of many for MHPSA in the U.S.

GRDA will issue bonds to finance the project. Board members recently selected JP Morgan as the lead financial institution. Hawkins Delafield & Woods LLP will serve as legal advisers.

GRDA has not yet selected an engineering and construction firm for the project.

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