With a project such as this, it can be difficult to balance the demands of the company, stakeholders, and surrounding community effectively.
By listening to and acknowledging the demands of the community and successfully installing a class-leading 7F gas turbine to increase productivity, GE and Footprint Power were able to satisfy both the town and company stakeholders.
We really approached things differently--some would say backwards. We started by talking to the community trying to figure out what they wanted, what they needed, and then how we could bring things together to match up to what their needs and wants and expectations were.
President and COO, Footprint Power
The result was a plant like no other. Footprint, along with GE and Iberdrola, is implementing a GE 7F.05 heavy-duty gas turbine on the site—but is also looking take advantage of off-shore wind resources, since Salem’s harbor is ideally positioned to receive winds from off of Cape Ann—some of the most powerful in the country.
The 7F.05 combines class-leading efficiency with a faster start that makes a big difference, explains Scott Silverstein, Footprint’s president and COO. “Where our old coal plant would take 16 hours to start up, which means we’d be producing emissions for 16 hours before we put a megawatt of electricity onto the grid, the new plant can come up in ten minutes.”
Footprint committed to training workers and providing funding to ensure that less than a year after the shutdown of the old plant, every worker that was looking for a job was able to get one. The Footprint team maintains that it was a group effort.
“It was not a straight path. It was full of dips and hills and curves and the key, I think, was that we all maintained our faith in one another. So, kudos to the GE team and the Iberdrola team for seeing the possibilities, not being scared off by the fact that we didn’t have a huge balance sheet to throw around, and being willing to kind of work with us. I hope, I think we had a lot of fun doing it too because it really was something that became bigger than all of us,” says Furniss.