GE express belief in gas power generation and launch new portfolio

GE (NYSE:à‚ GE) announced a new portfolio of power generation technologies at a press conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, with a focus on gas power equipment.

Steve Bolze
President of GE Power and Water, Steve Bolze told his audience that ‘GE’s power generation provides 25 per cent of the electricity of the world’, before emphasizing the company’s preference for gas power technology as the globe’s fuel of choice in the coming years.

The new FlexEfficiency 60 power generation portfolio is aimed at harnessing natural gas, reducing emissions and saving money.

GE has invested strongly in favour of gas power technology for its production, transport, and use, including a run of acquisitions worth $11bn in 2010-11, and stands to benefit from increased gas use.

The new range of products is designed to allow rapid ramp up and down in power output while using gas as efficiently as possible.

The company proclaims that the FlexEfficiency 60 combined-cycle power plant is the most efficient plant of its kind, with more that 61 per cent thermal efficiency.

Speakers at the conference also announced that $1.2bn in new orders have already been secured for the technology from the US, Saudi Arabia and Japan.

Executives cited the technology’s highly efficient baseload power as a major draw, as well as the ability to pair natural gas with renewables.

Steve Bolze acknowledged the recent surge in orders for gas installations.

He said that ‘the balance between coal, nuclear, renewables and gas is altering greatly around the world’, before adding that ‘natural gas is becoming the baseload fuel of choice for power companies and governments.’

Rising supplies in natural gas have led the investment in that fuel locking in increased demand for the decades that the plants will be in operation.

“This is a great milestone for our natural gas portfolio. We stated a year ago that we would bring our FlexEfficiency technology to our customers in places such as the US, Middle East, Japan and Brazil, and today we delivered.

We continue to invest in and build the broadest gas-fueled power generation in the industry. From 1 MW distributed power to 300 MW baseload power, GE technology helps meet the power needs of people everywhere in the world.”

GE’s latest orders, totaling $1.2bn, include six turbines for Japan, where they are likely to replace nuclear generation, which has been cut back following the 2011 Fukushima disaster and would be shut down altogether under an energy strategy recently set out by the government.

In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the gas-fired plants will be used to substitute for oil-fired generation, to allow the kingdom to sustain its lucrative crude exports.

Amongst the projects announced this week, was an order for the supply of eight 7F 5-series gas turbine-generators for the expansion of Saudi Electricity Company’s PP12 power project in Riyadh. The project is set to add over 1990 MW of capacity when it enters commercial operations in 2015, and will be the largest air-cooled combined-cycle project in the Kingdom.

Bolze said that China has been slow to invest in gas fired plants, as its gas production development was not yet at an advanced stage.

“The availability of gas is critical in China, as it is in India,” he said. “As the gas becomes available, those markets will continue to expand.”

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