UK gas-fired plant set for upgrades

In a move aimed at boosting its performance and flexibility, a gas-fired power plant in the UK is set to receive a range of equipment and software upgrades from GE.

Operator Calon Energy’s 819 MW combined-cycle Sutton Bridge plant (pictured) in Lincolnshire, which came online in 1999, provides power to the UK’s East Anglia region. According to GE, the plant’s two existing 9FA gas turbines and a D-11 steam turbine are to be upgraded with the company's OpFlex control software, a Dry Low Nox2.6+ combustor, and Advanced Gas Path (AGP) technology.

The project represents the first 9FA AGP upgrade in the UK, GE said.

The software upgrade package will include OpFlex Enhanced Transient Stability, AutoTune, Variable Load Path, Cold-Day Performance, Extended Turndown, Variable Inlet Bleed Heat and Variable Airflow and Steam Turbine Agility applications, steam turbine thermal blankets for improved cold-start capability and upgrades to balance-of-plant equipment to allow for additional performance improvement, GE noted.

The upgrades are planned to begin in 2016.

Kevin McCullough, Calon Energy’s CEO, said: “Along with other combined-cycle gas turbine plants in the UK, Sutton Bridge has competed with subsidized renewables, cheap coal and high gas prices. These upgrades will make the plant more competitive and, just as importantly, more flexible.”

According to GE, the technology is expected to boost the plant’s performance including a 3.4 per cent increase in MW output and a 1 per cent efficiency improvement, as well as reducing its startup times.

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