The most effective way to ensure power system reliability and energy security is through a mix of generation sources. No single form of power generation is ideal in every situation or economy. For example:
Gas-fired power plants are available regardless of the time of day or weather conditions, providing dependable capacity as long as needed, whether for minutes, hours, days or weeks at a time.
Among the reasons for the continued interest in power plants is the ability of these generation assets to adjust quickly to accommodate both fluctuations in demand and variable renewable energy supply. For instance, an 830-megawatt 9HA.02 GE combined-cycle power plant powering ~800,000 EU households, can start in less than 45 minutes, ramp up or down at >90 MW/min and turn down to less than 175 MW while maintaining emissions limits. Such agility is essential to balance out variable wind and solar supply levels.
The fact that gas power is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel—releasing about 50 percent less CO2 than coal and much less than other pollutants—means it’s also desirable for meeting environmental objectives. The 9HA.02 DLN 2.6e combustion system provides tremendous fuel flexibility and is capable of burning up to 50% of hydrogen (H2) combined with natural gas fuel.
Another factor driving the demand for new gas power plants is the fact that the up-front capital investment required is lower than for other options per kilowatt of installed capacity. The latest advanced combined-cycle natural gas plant typically costs about €550/kW, compared to €1,100/kW for utility-scale solar, €1,350/kW for onshore wind and €3,025/kW for offshore wind. Installing gas power is also a relatively quick process compared to other generation sources: Simple-cycle plants can be built within months and combined-cycle plants can be online in 3 years, compared to at least 15 years with the latest nuclear power plants. The capability to produce power by early 2025 to address the power needs from the nuclear phase-out combined with a competitive €/MWh are important award criteria for the Belgium Capacity Remuneration Mechanism (CRM) Auction.
It’s clear that as the world navigates the energy transition and faces the pressing need to tackle climate change and addresses the need to provide stable and secure electricity supply, gas power can provide affordable baseload power and complementary cyclic or peaking power as needed to accommodate future growth of renewables.
GE Power is currently supporting Belgium’s energy mix in with our Charleroi, Belgium service center. Contact GE Gas Power today to learn more about ensuring the reliability and efficiency of your gas power plant.
I look forward to working together to build a sustainable future for Belgium with the support of natural gas!
Technical Director – Advanced Combined Cycles
Marcus has 25 years of experience in the power industry, with expertise in the design of gas turbine combustion systems and a range of gas-, oil- and coal-fired boiler combustion systems. His most recent positions included Integrated Gasification Combined Cycles and Product Management for the latest high-efficiency gas turbines. In his current role, Marcus is working to enhance the design of the most advanced gas turbines for combined-cycle plants, with thermal efficiency levels surpassing 64%. Gas power can complement renewables as a way to rapidly change the trajectory on climate change, including new concepts for hybrid gas turbine plants that will combine gas turbine plant technology with energy storage.