GE and Italian energy firm Tirreno Power have revealed how they managed to complete an upgrade on a gas turbine at a major power plant during the peak of Italy’s COVID-19 pandemic.
GE has now completed the installation of a new rotor and a compressor upgrade at Tirreno Power’s 1200 MW Torrevaldaliga Sud power plant near Rome.
The modernization project started in late February and continued despite the spread of coronavirus. GE said that along with Tirreno Power it “quickly implemented additional safety protocols and procedures to ensure the timely and safe completion of the outage”.
“With work already underway, it was crucial that GE complete the turbine modernization to restore the availability of our plant, which produces the equivalent of electricity consumed in average by three million homes,” explained Alessandro Gaglione, Tirreno Power’s head of generation.
“Relying on outstanding technical skills of the staff involved in this critical operation, we decided to confirm the work plan in order to make our plant promptly available for the national grid to help secure the energy supply in the country in the emergency period.”
The modernization consisted of the installation of a new rotor and of an enhanced compressor system to increase the robustness and durability of the turbine.
The engineering enhancements reduce the impact of degradation that naturally occurs with time on the rotor components and improves their lifespan. This, in turn, reduces the risk of unplanned downtime and emergent maintenance.
Engineers from GE and FieldCore – the services execution team owned by GE – worked closely with Tirreno Power’s team to implement an array of safety measures, including more frequent disinfections, physical distancing and increased use of personal protective equipment.
A dedicated COVID-19 taskforce was also created to monitor and address the rapidly evolving situation and ensure compliance with local, national and company regulations.
“The 9F.03 gas turbine upgrade was critical to increase the current performance and reliability of Tirreno Power’s plant,” said Steven Miller, Service Leader for Europe at GE Gas Power.
“During these unprecedented times when access to reliable electricity is more important than ever, we are committed to providing our customers with the exceptional support and services they have come to rely on while leading with safety.
“Despite the daily challenges caused by the pandemic and longer-than-expected isolation from family and loved ones, our 30-strong team worked day and night to complete the outage, safely.”