GE introduces latest F technology machine

GE Power Systems has unveiled the latest model in its F technology gas turbine fleet, the MS7001FB. It has already taken orders for 15 of the new units for merchant power plants in the USA.

Higher output and efficiency levels have been achieved with the FB compared to the FA machines through a higher pressure ratio and an increased firing temperature. The new unit incorporates features from GE’s F fleet as well as from the H system, its latest generation of advanced turbines. New York-based Sithe Energies has agreed to buy nine 7FB machines for three merchant plants, while LG&E Energy Corp. of Louisville, KY, is to buy six units for a plant in Texas.

The compressor ratio has been increased from 15.5:1 for the 7FA to 18.5:1 for the 7FB. The 7FB axial flow compressor has the same aerodynamics as the FA fleet, while the redesigned turbine section employs single crystal material on the first stage buckets and other features from the H system. Firing temperatures have been increased to 2500°F.

Sithe will equip three 800 MW plants with a 307FB combined cycle system consisting of three gas turbines and one steam turbine. The plants, in New York and Pennsylvania, will enter service in 2003.

CFB for Puerto Rico cogeneration facility

Duke/Fluor Daniel has awarded a contract for the supply and installation of two advanced circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boilers at a cogeneration facility in Puerto Rico to ABB Alstom Power. The 500 MWe plant will burn imported coal, broadening the generation mix of Puerto Rico, which is dependent on oil and natural gas.

The plant will be located at Guayama near San Juan, and will be operated by independent power producer AES Puerto Rico L.P., a subsidiary of AES Corp. It will supply electricity to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority under a long term power purchase agreement, and up to 185 000 lb/h (83 900 kg/h) process steam to nearby pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries.

ABB Alstom will supply, erect and commission two trains of CFB boilers, associated air heaters and environmental control systems to fire coal with a maximum sulphur content of one per cent. The plant will also be equipped with a circulating dry scrubber to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions.

US utility suits

The US Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have filed lawsuits accusing several utility companies of illegally emitting millions of tonnes of air pollutants from coal fired power plants throughout the Midwest and southern USA.

The action targets 24 power plants owned by seven utilities including American Electric Power and Southern Company, the country’s two largest electric utilities. The government alleges that they failed to employ modern pollution control technologies. It could collect millions of dollars in civil penalties if successful.

Wind tax boost

The wind power industry in the USA received a boost in late November when a tax credit for electricity produced from wind power was extended as part of a budget bill. The tax credit system had expired on 30 June 1999 resulting in a fall in interest in such projects, according to wind power developers.

Wind power can be generated for around ¢4-6/kWh compared to power from natural gas fired plants at around ¢3.5/kWh. The tax credit is worth approximately ¢1.3-2/kWh. The US is aiming to increase the amount of electricity generated from wind to five per cent of generation from 0.1 per cent.

Antitrust ruling may delay Camisea deals

An antitrust investigation into the Peruvian holdings of Endesa of Spain may affect contracts for up to 70 per cent of the initial output from the giant Camisea natural gas development. Peru’s state agency in charge of antitrust issues, Indecopi, was expected to make a ruling in December on Endesa, which controls around 37 per cent of the country’s electricity generation and distribution market.

Leading power generators Edegel and Etevensa, which are both controlled by Endesa, are expected to sign contracts for between 60 and 70 per cent of the initial output from the $2.3bn gas development project. Their participation in Camisea is seen as key to the project’s development, and the delay in signing the contracts could affect the Peruvian government’s target of starting production before April 2000.

A law issued after Endesa reached its current level of market share says that companies must obtain a license from Indecopi if they want to hold more than five per cent of the market, and a separate license must also be obtained once that market share reaches 15 per cent.

News digest

International:

Ottawa has warned the Clinton administration that a US Senate bid to cancel a contract to sell Quebec power to Vermont may violate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Under a $4bn contract signed in 1987, Hydro-Quebec supplies electricity to a group of Vermont utilities at ¢6.5/kWh. Market rates in Vermont are now around ¢cent;3.5/kWh.

Brazil:

The reservoirs of Brazil’s main hydropower plants ended the May to October drought period at their lowest levels ever. Furnas’ reservoir in Minas Gerais state operated at only 14.7 per cent of its capacity in October, the lowest level since it was filled in 1968. Reservoirs at the Marimbondo, Emborcacao and Ilha Solteira plants also operated at similar levels.

Brazil:

Paraná state power utility Copel has reported a R$109.5m ($58.3m) net profit for the first nine months of the year, 54.4 per cent less than in the same period in 1998. The fall is the result of the devaluation of the Real in January, which caused the utility to post a R$2.2m loss in the first quarter.

Canada:

Alberta’s Power Pool has signed a contract with Andersen Consulting to develop an internet-based energy trading system designed to equip the power pool to handle higher volumes of transactions in preparation for retail competition and other market developments. The system is expected to be operational by mid 2000.

Chile:

Empresa Nacional de Electricdad (Endesa) has posted a net loss of peso126.81bn ($230.7m) for the nine months to the end of September. The results were largely due to high fuel prices and drought which forced it to buy power.

Mexico:

The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) has formally become part of the California Power Exchange from which it will receive electricity to cover demand in Baja California.

USA: Northern Research and Engineering Corporation (NREC) and Siemens Westinghouse have developed and delivered a microturbine-fuel cell hybrid power plant.

The plant consists of a pressurized 200 kW solid oxide fuel cell and a 50 kW PowerWorks microturbine. The system is currently being tested at Siemens Westinghouse facilities.

USA:

Rolls-Royce has won two power contracts to supply seven generating units to power projects in Michigan and Ohio. Two RB211 units will provide 78 MW to meet peak demand for 35 Michigan counties served by the Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative. Five Allison 501-KB7 units will provide power and process steam at a cogeneration facility being developed by Trigen-Cinergy Solutions at an industrial site in northern Ohio.