Building an efficient plant

Calpine Corporation and GE Energy are to construct the world’s first power plant based on the 60-hertz version of GE’s most advanced gas turbine technology, the H System.

Calpine Corporation, a North American power company, has signed a letter of intent with GE Energy for the joint construction of the world’s first power plant based on the 60-hertz version of GE’s most advanced gas turbine technology, the H System.

The new facility will be based on two GE 107H combined-cycle systems, which will provide a total plant output of more than 775 megawatts or enough power for nearly 800,000 US homes. The new plant is expected to enter commercial operation in the spring of 2008. The project site has yet to be announced.

GE will purchase the project development rights from Calpine and will finance, own and operate the facility. Calpine’s Energy Services group will market electricity from the facility under a long-term marketing arrangement with GE.

Under the agreement, Calpine will sell the power through a variety of long, intermediate and short-term contracts. Calpine will have an option to purchase the plant and become the sole owner and operator of the facility, following an extended period of GE ownership.

GE said in a statement that its H System is the world’s first combined-cycle system designed to reach 60% thermal efficiency, a milestone for the global power industry. The first 50-hertz H System, a 109H combined-cycle unit, entered operation in September 2003 at the Baglan Bay Power Station (pictured) in Wales, and has completed more than 5,000 hours of successful operation.

Developed by GE as part of the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Turbine System program, the H System is said to feature an innovative closed-loop steam cooling system that enables the higher firing temperatures required for increased efficiency. In addition to the steam cooling system, GE engineers designed key components of the H turbine with advanced, single-crystal materials to withstand higher temperatures over a long service life. Much of the H design, however, is based on turbine technology proven in millions of hours of commercial operation worldwide.

Calpine will retain development responsibility for the new facility and Calpine Power Services, a subsidiary of Calpine Corporation, will provide program management services for the construction effort. Once the plant is operational, Calpine will provide support in integrating the operations of the station with the requirements of the local energy markets.

The H System for the Calpine project will be provided under a previously announced agreement between GE and Toshiba. GE, which has responsibility for overall plant design and the H System, will design and manufacture the two Frame 7H gas turbines in its Greenville, S.C. gas turbine plant, and will supply the integrated control systems for the power plant. Toshiba will manufacture the GE-designed compressors along with Toshiba-designed generators and steam turbines.

Shipment of the equipment is expected to begin in March of 2006.