GE looks forward to European challenge as Italian gas project announced

The new head of GE Power Services says his team are looking forward to the challenge of improving its fortunes in the European power sector, as the unit announced a milestone agreement to modernize performance at the Candela combined-cycle gas-fired power plant in Italy.

Just six months after taking over at the helm, new CEO Scott Strazik sees plenty of room for optimism about the future for GE Power Services and Europe as the ideal proving ground to demonstrate why. In an extended interview you can read in next month’s Power Engineering International magazine, Strazik said, “In trying to navigate the changing landscape, even when I look at places like Europe that are probably the furthest along in the evolution of renewables growth, I look at our business and the fit we have within the grid and I feel good about it.”
Scott Strazik of GE Power
“Yes, we have probably a half decade if renewables growth, half a decade of anaemic industrial growth in Europe and not always the best government policy but I look at our business today and the utilisation rates in the fleet seem to be levelling off and some markets growing for the first time in a while.”

Strazik was speaking in a week when the company signed a milestone agreement with Edison, part of Electricité de France (EDF Group) and Italy’s second largest integrated energy company, to enhance performance at its Candela combined-cycle power station in Puglia. It is the first in a series of announcements set to emerge from the power division this week.

à‚ The Italian deal encompasses hardware upgrades to the existing GE 9F.03 gas turbine, increasing both the plant’s output to 400 MW, increasing plants global efficiency by about one percentage point.

In addition, GE’s predictive maintenance software and cyber security solution will be deployed to improve asset visibility, reliability and security, while decreasing operating and maintenance costs at the plant.

“I look at where we are with customer need in Europe and output isn’t necessarily the biggest criterion for demand. I look at the need for efficiency and with still reasonably high gas prices the need for more ramping capability with our gas turbines.,” Strazik added.

“We feel like we can navigate our new products for the next five years in a smart and confident way. I talk a lot about Europe with the customers and the team because I feel if we can navigate Europe we will be able to navigate a lot of the markets where we are competing and serving customers. There is still a lot of opportunity out there for us to serve our customers and play a vital role in the market and I don’t see that changing any time soon.”

GE will also install its industry-leading Advanced Gas Path (AGP) technology, part of its Fleet360* platform of total plant solutions aimed at delivering upgrade performance and operational flexibility with more output, efficiency and availability.

Commenting on the deal, Nicola Monti, Executive Vice President of Edison – Power Asset & Engineering said, aligning power generation capacity and transmission systems to meet energy demand while respecting pre-defined security and quality levels has become a critical issue in Italy and most liberalized electricity markets around the world. “The new Capacity Market system, which Italy will implement in 2018 will reward utilities for their capacity availability. For this reason, it’s essential to continually improve our assets’ performance and availability with the latest technologies and digital solutions. GE is helping us to increase fuel savings, generation capacity, and, more importantly, our competitiveness in an evolving Italian energy market.”

Candela gas-fired power plant
à‚ AGP can deliver benefits on a global scale to customers both in mature markets- including the U.S. and western Europe where efficiency and flexibility are crucial – as well as growing markets like MEA, Asia, China and eastern Europe where more MW are needed for the grid and industrial use.

à‚ While the 7F gas turbine customer fleet alone is enjoying the benefits of nearly 300 AGP solutions, GE expanded the customer value of AGP technology by making it available to power producers that operate 9F. AGP installation at Edison’s Candela power plant marks the first of this kind implementation in South Europe.

GE will also deploy its Cyber Asset Protection solution, a security subscription service to centrally deploy, manage and report on security patches, as well as its Predix-based Asset Performance Management (APM) digital solution.à‚ 

Data processed by APM will help balance maintenance costs, improve inspection intervals and provide invaluable insights into operational risks to help Edison increase asset visibility, reliability and availability while reducing operating and maintenance costs.

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