Licence Received From California Energy Commission
GE Energy’s first 60Hz H-System power plant was constructed in southern California, US. The 800MW, natural gas-fired plant represents an investment of more than $500m and is located at Inland Empire in Riverside County.
Inland Empire is located on 46 acres near Romoland in Riverside County. The site is bordered by McLaughlin Road to the south, San Jacinto Road to the east, Antelope Road to the west and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway to the north. Project financier GE owns and operates the Inland Empire Energy Center.
Southern California is the seventh-largest economy in the world. but is one of the most energy-deficient power markets in the US. Calpine Corporation and GE brought the Inland Empire Energy Center on line to help offset state-forecasted energy shortfalls.
The Inland Empire CCGT power plant received its licence from the California Energy Commission in June 2005 and GE acquired the site and related development rights in August that year.
The facility was brought online in 2008. The original order specified GE PG-7251(FB) combustion turbine-generators with heat recovery steam generators, one steam turbine generator, associated pollution-control equipment, a switchyard and other ancillary facilities.
The order was then modified to include the H-System turbines. The modification required changes to the site layout and added four acres to the fenced area of the project site.
It also added two temporary areas near the project site for construction of worker parking and secondary laydown.
Calpine Power Services managed the plant’s construction and Calpine Energy Services manages the plant’s output and fuel requirements under a long-term marketing arrangement with GE. After an extended period of GE’s ownership, Calpine expects to buy the plant and become its sole owner and operator, with GE continuing to provide long-term critical plant maintenance services.
Unit 1 is currently generating 400MW output and has operated for more than 6,000 fired hours since commissioning. Unit 2 was shut down at the time of commissioning because it was damaged, reasons for which were not disclosed by GE. About 95% of the construction of Unit 2 is complete.
Restart of Unit 2 was scheduled for 2009, but was delayed due to difficulties in procuring spare parts. It is now expected to restart in 2010.
Once both units become operational the plant will produce an output of 800MW.
An on-site switchyard connects to the existing Southern California Edison Valley substation. This is approximately one mile east of the site, across a new 500kV transmission line. Natural gas is delivered using one of two pipelines. The preferred option is the new 20in Menifee Road pipeline which is connected to the existing Sempra Energy lines.
A new 4.7 mile, 18in pipeline disposes non-reclaimable wastewater. Sanitary wastewater is discharged to an existing 33in (84cm) sewer line in McLaughlin Road.
The H-System is the industry’s most fuel-efficient CCGT technology and the first to reach 60% thermal efficiency.
The turbines generate enough electricity to supply nearly 600,000 households while reducing future carbon dioxide emissions by more than 146,000t (148 million kilogrammes) per year over a typical CCGT plant.
The first H-System turbines were installed in Baglan Bay and the Inland Empire Energy Center is the first US plant to use them.
The turbines have been upgraded since Baglan Bay. For example, the combustion gas temperature drop of the Baglan Bay turbine was lower than expected. Optimising the design increased performance and power output.
A fuel moisturisation system adds a saturator in front of the existing fuel heater. The saturator adds water vapour to increase the mass flow through the turbine. This increased output by above 5MW and reduced NOx emissions.
The three years required to construct and test the new turbines needed over a million hours of labour, with more than 500 workers involved in the project.
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