French utility EDF and GE have announced plans to jointly develop and showcase the first FlexEfficiency 50 natural gas fired combined-cycle power plant to be connected to a national grid.

GE’s FlexEfficiency 50 plant is an integrated, highly efficient system that includes the following key components: a next-generation 9FB gas turbine, a 109D-14 steam turbine, an advanced W28 generator, a heat recovery steam generator and a Mark Vle control system that links all of the technologies.

The plant will provide a combination of operational flexibility and efficiency with low emissions. and Paul Browning, president and CEO of GE Energy’s Thermal Products told a press conference on Thursday that the company “used our aviation division to achieve the flexibility required.”

Browning added that the jet-engine technology being utilised will enable the plant to ramp up twice as fast as conventional turbines, “capable of going from dead stop to full load in 28 minutes”.

The new combined-cycle plant will be located at Bouchain, an existing EDF power plant site in northern France, and will produce 510 MW – enough electricity for 600 000 French households.

Expected to achieve greater than 61 per cent efficiency (net) at baseload, GE will spend an initial $170m in validation of the turbine at its Greenville, SC, US, and according to Browning, the “technology will be much further developed by the time EDF gets its hands on it in Bouchain.”

Its operating flexibility will enable the plant to respond quickly to fluctuations in grid demand, paving the way for greater use of renewable resources such as wind and solar.

The latest initiative in a 40-year partnership will see GE and EDF jointly develop the EUR400m ($533m) power plant, which is due to become operational in 2015.

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