GE Power & Water’s Distributed Power business (NYSE: GE) has signed a contract to provide Sky Global with its Jenbacher gas engine technology along with a 30-year contractual service agreement for a new 50-megawatt (MW) high-efficiency power plant in Colorado County, Texas, near San Bernard’s Rock Island substation. This represents the largest North American power project for GE’s Jenbacher J920 FleXtra gas engine so far.
“This project is the center of our power strategy going forward,” said Billy Marricle, president and general manager of San Bernard. “It provides us with unprecedented system security, protection from wholesale price spikes and the opportunity to increase the value of our cooperative.”
Under the agreement with Sky Global, GE is providing six of its ecomagination qualified 8.6-MW J920 FleXtra ultra-fast response, natural gas-fired engine generator sets for the Sky Global Power One project. Sky Global will sell peaking power generation to the San Bernard Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SBEC) of Bellville, which supplies electricity to more than 17,000 members in a seven-county region of south Central Texas. This unique agreement between Sky Global and San Bernard allows San Bernard to participate in the value of the project through its investment in the purchased power over time.
Texas produces and consumes more electricity than any other state, accounting for more than one-tenth of total U.S. energy use. Contributing factors include its large and growing population, hot climate and extensive industrial/manufacturing sector. When compared to the rest of the country, Texas has a higher concentration of energy-intensive industries such as aluminum, chemicals, forest products, glass and petroleum refining.
“We are delighted to be building this project to provide San Bernard Electric Coop with peaking power. Responsible power distributors, such as SBEC, need secure, reliable peaking generation and the ability to control their overall cost of wholesale power. Sky Global Power One will provide these benefits,” said Frank Rotondi, president and CEO of Sky Global.
Groundbreaking for the Sky Global Power One project is planned for October 2014, and GE expects the equipment to ship June 2015, with the first commercial power available in early 2016.
“Bringing our latest gas engine technology to the 60-hertz segment allows us to meet the growing needs of our customers worldwide. The Jenbacher J920 FleXtra offers best-in-class electrical efficiency, which adds up to big savings in fuel over the life cycle of a plant. For example, over 15 years, a U.S. facility could realize fuel savings of as much as $15 million for a 100-MW J920 FleXtra power plant with very high simple-cycle efficiency and great flexibility1,” said Lorraine Bolsinger, president and CEO for GE’s Distributed Power. “As our North American launch partner for the 60-hertz J920 gas engine, Sky Global and San Bernard will benefit from its ability to provide utilities and industrial customers with fast, reliable on-site power during peak power-demand periods and as more renewable energy is added to the grid.”
GE recently introduced its J920 FleXtra gas engine technology for the 60-hertz North American segment. Featuring a five-minute start-up time, the J920 FleXtra offers the highest electrical efficiency in its class commercially available today, is scalable for any plant size and provides enough energy to power more than 6,000 average U.S. homes.
 Source: GE’s J920 FleXtra—Flexible and Efficient Distributed Power Whitepaper, 2014