GE’s Power Generation Services business (NYSE: GE) today announced it has signed a multiyear services agreement with Southern California Edison (SCE) to upgrade the utility’s Mountainview Generating Facility, a 1,054-megawatt (MW) combined-cycle power plant in Redlands, California. Highlighting a growing trend with North American combined-cycle power stations, the upgrade project will reduce the facility’s startup times, lower its emissions without using additional water and help to balance the growing role of renewables on the grid.
“Our Mountainview station will be much more flexible, enabling it to more quickly respond to the needs of the California ISO system that is highly penetrated with solar power and other renewable sources,” said Stuart R. Hemphill, senior vice president, Power Supply & Operational Services, Southern California Edison. “GE’s solution also gives us a more efficient plant, creating greater value and savings for our customers.”
GE’s technologies will boost the station’s output by about 48 MW, increase its efficiency and offer longer intervals between maintenance outages. By boosting Mountainview’s flexibility, the project will help SCE protect the grid from the intermittency of the state’s rapidly expanding renewable energy supplies while strengthening the facility’s competitive position in California.
Renewable energy has grown so rapidly that it accounted for most new U.S. electricity production added in 2014. California’s share of electricity from renewables has more than doubled to 25 percent today, up from 12 percent in 2008. California also has signed contracts with its leading utilities to ensure that more than 33 percent of the state’s power comes from renewables by 2020. Gov. Jerry Brown also set a new state target of 50 percent renewables by 2030.
“We are excited to support SCE’s upgrades to the Mountainview Generating Facility,” said Paul McElhinney, president and CEO of GE’s Power Generation Services business. “This agreement underscores their confidence in our generation and combustion technologies and capabilities to execute an extremely complex project while increasing plant availability. With natural gas playing a growing role in power generation around the world, we are committed to helping operators squeeze every megawatt they can out of their existing facilities while also reducing their site emissions and water consumption.”
SCE’s Mountainview Generating Facility features four 7FA.03 units, two D-11 steam turbines and associated generators in combined cycle. As part of the new extended service agreement with SCE to upgrade the site’s generating equipment, GE will supply six Advanced Gas Path (AGP) sets; six sets of its Dry Low NOx 2.6+ (DLN2.6+) combustion system as well as its OpFlex* software package; and four new unit rotors. GE also is providing extended steam turbine coverage as well as premium generator coverage.
The Mountainview upgrade project reflects a broader commitment by SCE and other California utilities to curtail their water consumption to help the state battle chronic drought conditions. The DLN2.6+ combustion system will enable SCE to further reduce the Mountainview plant’s emissions without the need for using additional water in the process. Moreover, using GE’s technology, SCE can reduce both water consumption and emissions, helping them comply with tightening environmental regulations while also reducing their operating expenses.
GE’s Remote Monitoring & Diagnostics Center in Atlanta, which oversees the company’s installed base of gas and steam turbines, will play a crucial role in enhancing the environmental compliance of the Mountainview Generating Facility’s combustion technology.
GE is scheduled to begin installing its technology solutions at the Mountainview Generating Facility in 2016 and complete the project by May 2017. GE’s equipment is expected to be supplied by its gas turbine facility in Greenville, South Carolina.
Located about 80 miles east of Los Angeles, Mountainview Generating Facility generates enough power to meet the needs of about 685,000 average U.S. homes.
SCE’s upgrade of the Mountainview Generating Facility is just one of a growing number of combined-cycle power plants that GE is helping to upgrade throughout North America as operators seek to strengthen their financial and competitive positions in a changing energy landscape. Other projects include:
- In July 2015, Nova Scotia, Canada-based energy company Emera Energy selected GE to upgrade the Tiverton Power station in Rhode Island to increase efficiency, capacity and long-term availability of the power plant and reduce its operating costs and environmental impacts. The 265-MW natural gas-fired combined-cycle power plant provides electricity to Rhode Island and the surrounding area through ISO New England.
- Illustrating that Canadian operators have similar requirements, GE was selected in March 2015 to help modernize the 874-MW Goreway Power Station in Brampton, Ontario, to increase its reliability, flexibility and efficiency. GE will upgrade the facility’s existing 7FB gas turbine to more efficient 7FB.04 gas turbine specifications. GE’s solution will include its AGP and DLN2.6+ combustion technologies as part of a multiyear service agreement that includes premium extended generator coverage.
The SCE, Emera Energy and Goreway power plant upgrade projects illustrate the benefits of packaging GE’s service solutions. By combining GE’s AGP, DLN and OpFlex solutions, operators can increase their output more than through just installing AGP. Furthermore, combining AGP and DLN can help operators extend their maintenance cycles by aligning hot gas path and combustion inspection intervals, while installing only AGP or DLN does not allow the operator time to reach an extended outage to do all the work at once and reduce downtime.