Nova Scotia, Canada-based energy company Emera Energy has selected GE (NYSE: GE) to upgrade its Tiverton Power station in Rhode Island in an effort to increase the efficiency, capacity and long-term availability of the power plant and reduce its operating costs and environmental impacts. The 265-megawatt (MW) natural gas-fired combined-cycle power plant provides electricity to Rhode Island and the surrounding area through ISO New England (ISO-NE).
“The upgrades by GE will include best-in-class technology and will improve Tiverton Power’s efficiency and output. They also will increase its availability by extending the maintenance intervals,” said Dave Pickles, Emera Energy’s vice president of operations. “GE supplied the plant’s original generation equipment and we feel their technology, expertise and project-management experience will help us make Tiverton Power one of the most fuel-efficient and lowest emitting power plants in the U.S.”
This investment marks the first combined-cycle project in North America to incorporate three GE Power FlexEfficiency* upgrade offerings, including a new .04 compressor, a Dry Low NOx 2.6+ combustor and GE’s Advanced Gas Path technology solution.
“With natural gas expected to play an increasingly important role in the United States’ energy supply mix, utilities are looking for ways to improve the efficiency and performance of their existing natural gas power plant fleets,” said Paul McElhinney, president and CEO for GE’s Power Generation Services business. “By investing in GE’s Power FlexEfficiency suite of solutions, Emera Energy’s project demonstrates how power plant operators can make their facilities more profitable while reducing their fuel costs and emissions.”
The upgrades of the plant’s 7F.03 gas turbines would help Tiverton Power save an estimated $1 million in fuel costs annually and boost the plant’s combined-cycle output by 22 MW. Emera Energy’s Pickles noted that by producing more megawatts more efficiently, this also will help improve Emera Energy’s competitive position against other power plants in the ISO-NE dispatch stack.
Moreover, the gas turbine’s heat rate (fuel efficiency) is expected to improve up to 3.4 percent at ISO conditions while its output is expected to increase up to 10.4 percent. The three Power FlexEfficiency upgrades will be implemented during a planned maintenance outage scheduled for April 2016, with commercial operation set to begin the following month. GE’s gas turbine equipment is expected to be supplied by the company’s facility in Greenville, South Carolina.
Tiverton Power began commercial operation in 2000. In 2013, Emera Energy acquired Tiverton Power along with the 520-MW Bridgeport Energy power plant in Connecticut and the 265-MW Rumford Power facility in Maine. The company’s goal is to enhance the three power plants to increase their competitiveness as other power plants in the region are retired and more intermittent renewable energy supplies are added to the grid.