Independent power producer Calpine announced Wednesday plans to buy 27 steam turbines capable of generating up to 5400 MW of electricity from Siemens Westinghouse over the next four years. The turbines are destined for already planned Calpine power projects in North America – a market in which an excess of demand over supply has led to long delivery delays for steam turbines.
Calpine was founded in 1984 and has grown rapidly over the years. The IPP plans a 500 per cent expansion of its current 5900 MW of generating capacity and has developments operating, under construction or pending acquisitions in 29 states, the UK and Canada.
“As we’ve already seen in the gas turbine market, if demand exceeds supply, long delivery delays can occur. High demand for steam turbines has increased the lead time on orders, requiring companies to be proactive in their procurement efforts,” said Doug Kieta, senior vice president-construction for Calpine. “Calpine was among the first to recognize this trend. Through this and upcoming turbine orders, Calpine will maintain our first-mover advantage in the marketplace and continue to enjoy development opportunities and flexibilities.”
Part of Calpine’s growth strategy is based upon the construction of new, highly efficient power projects. This approach includes designing energy centres that pair a steam turbine with one or more gas turbines in a combined-cycle configuration. In this application, hot exhaust from the primary power production phase is captured, used to create steam, and directed through a steam turbine for a second phase of electrical production. By doing so, Calpine’s combined cycle energy centres can be up to 40 per cent more efficient than existing single cycle facilities and reduce the consumption of natural resources.