GE Upgrading California Combined-Cycle Plant with New Waterless Combustion System

 GE's Upgrade to California Combined-Cycle Plant to Boost Efficiency, Output

In a growing North American trend, Southern California Edison (SCE) is the latest utility to announce upgrades to a combined-cycle plant.

SCE has reached a multiyear agreement with General Electric (NYSE: GE) to upgrade Mountainview Generating Facility, a 1,054-MW plant in Redlands, California that features four 7FA.03 units, two D-11 steam turbines and associated generators in combined cycle.

Under the agreement, GE is supplying SCE with six sets of its new Dry Low NOx 2.6+ (DLN2.6+) combustion system and OpFlex software package, six Advanced Gas Path (AGP) sets and four new unit rotors.  Additionally, GE is providing extended steam turbine coverage and premium generator coverage.

Jeff Lucas, region general manager of GE Power and Water, says the DLN2.6+ combustion system affords the plant greater flexibility, increased output and additional fuel options, all while lowering emissions.

“GE is launching this product all over the world,” said Lucas.  “The advancement here is greater output and lower emissions without the use of water.  We’re increasing the capability of an already capable system.”

Lucas says GE’s new technology connects the facility in California to the company’s Remote Monitoring & Diagnostics Center in Atlanta where a team of engineers will monitor the plant’s performance and compliance with environmental standards. 

Furthermore, Lucas says combining the DLN2.6+ combustion system with the AGP technology maximizes the hardware’s capability, increases the period of time between maintenance and reduces startup times, allowing the plant to respond more quickly to the needs of the grid. 

“Across the country, we’re finding that power plants that were built in the early 2000s, late 1990s-early 2000s, they were made to start up and run continuously, all day every day,” said Lucas.  “As we brought in renewables, whether it be wind or solar, we as a country use that power first."

Lucas says the use of renewables requires power plants now to start up and shut down at different times, depending on the intermittency of supplies, instead of run continuously.

In places like California, the renewables supply fluctuates dramatically because of the impact of solar energy.  In response, SCE requested a system that is more responsive.

“These teenage power plants are all having to be reconfigured to respond to that need nationally and most prevalent in California,” said Lucas.

GE is slated to begin the upgrades at Mountainview in 2016 with completion expected by May 2017.  The project is expected to boost the facility’s output by about 48 MW.

A number of other combined-cycle plants in North America are also looking at upgrades to balance the intermittency of renewable energy supplies.

In July 2015, Emera Energy contracted GE to upgrade the 265-MW Tiverton Power Station in Rhode Island, and in March 2015 GE was chosen to modernize the 874-MW Goreway Power Station in Brampton, Ontario.

Lucas says these upgrades include the same hardware as Mountainview but the software is customized for the plants’ customers’ needs.

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