General Electric Co. (GE) said its new turbine designed to pair gas and renewable-power generation was chosen by Turkey’s MetCap Energy Investments for the first combination solar-natural gas plant.
The site will use technology from closely held eSolar Inc., wind and the “FlexEfficiency” gas turbine GE announced last week. The combination will be able to operate at a fuel- efficiency rate of more than 70 percent, greater than the rate of 61 percent for the combined-cycle turbine alone, GE said. It also makes solar more cost-efficient.
“This will be a power plant that combines wind, natural gas and integrated combined technology under one roof,” Paul Browning, who runs thermal products at GE Energy, the world’s biggest maker of power-generation equipment, said at a Milan press conference.
The plant, to be located in Karaman, Turkey, will have a capacity of about 530 megawatts, enough to power more than 600,000 homes, MetCap Chairman Celal Metin said at the conference.
“We have worked with every single party in industry who has something to offer in state-of-art, in gas turbines, steam turbines, solar sites and wind,” Metin said. “We did not give it to them. They earned it.”
Gas, Steam, Wind
The plant will integrate GE’s 9FB gas turbine, which has a capacity of 510 megawatts and a frequency of 50 hertz; a steam turbine; a generator; GE wind-turbine power; and power from eSolar-concentrated thermal tower technology, according to a statement from the companies.
“Solar-thermal with combined-cycle power plant are the most economic there is,” Browning said in an interview. He said Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE expects more order announcements in the “weeks and months ahead.”
Under a license agreement, eSolar’s projects will be transferred to GE Energy and become part of the integrated solar, combined-cycle effort, Chief Executive Officer John Van Scoter said in an interview.
GE’s investment combined with an $11 million U.S. Department of Energy solar-storage grant put Burbank, California-based eSolar in a “very good position financially” to become cash flow positive, he said.
GE Energy, based in Atlanta, competes with companies including Germany’s Siemens AG. (SIE) Siemens last year said its H- class combined-cycle turbine combination set a world record at 60.75 percent efficiency grade. Browning said he expects competition.
“My long experience is that when GE goes somewhere, others follow,” Browning said. “It wouldn’t surprise me at all if we see movement in this direction by others in our industry.”
China’s Harbin Electric, the parent of Harbin Power Equipment Co., will buy four 9FB gas turbines from GE by the end of 2013, with two that incorporate the newest technology, GE said last week.
GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt said last month that sales of energy- efficient equipment, including gas turbines, will accelerate in 2011’s second half, helping to lead profit growth into 2012.
The new turbine’s debut follows about $11 billion in energy purchases since October including Dresser Inc., a maker of oil- field gear, and the well-support division of John Wood Group Plc.