Today, power plant operators not only need to adjust the way their plants operate to support renewables, they also need to be flexible enough to handle different types of fuel, and react in the moment to fluctuating fuel prices. As a result, gas turbines need to ramp up and down quickly throughout the day and night—supplementing renewables when they aren’t readily available, then getting out of the way when the sun comes out and the wind starts blowing.
Your power plant wasn’t built to be flexible, but now it’s an industry requirement. What can you do?
Run in a wider operating range at lower loads
Achieve faster startup times
Have more reliable starts
Have ramp rates to offset renewables
Stay within strict emissions restrictions
Keep O&M costs down
When it comes to operating more flexibly, your plant will need to be the “multi-tool” of power plants, with the ability to quickly change operating profiles to respond to environmental, fuel and many other factors. Browse the key performance outcomes you should be looking to achieve—and all the offerings we have to help get you there.
How low can you go?
Are you chasing the wind and sun? If so, your gas turbine needs to be ready to take a back seat and turn down to a minimum load when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining. With lower turndown (or Pmin), you can keep your unit running at a very low MW output while staying emissions compliant. This helps avoid cycling—saving on fuel costs and maintenance on the gas turbine and the entire bottoming cycle—as well as renewable curtailment.
If you’re looking to achieve lower plant turndown and maintain emissions compliance, GE has a suite of solutions that can help. Get in touch with us and we can partner with you to custom tailor a package of solutions to meet your specific need.
Let’s see you flex
GE’s fuel-flexible gas turbines can run on a wide variety of fuels—including hydrogen—which helps power generation in industrial and utility-scale applications where natural gas or light distillate fuels are not available. This fuel flex capability could play an increasing role in a future low- or zero-carbon energy ecosystem. If it’s time to future-proof your plant to run on different fuels, here’s what GE can offer:
GE has more experience running gas turbines on hydrogen than any other OEM, with combustion technologies capable of operating on a wide range of hydrogen concentrations up to ~100% (by volume).
We can work with you to burn Refinery Off Gas (ROFG) and other fuels, starting with natural gas and mixing in the fuels you have available to run efficiently and safely.
Our gas turbines can run on both liquid fuel and natural gas, which improves reliability and flexibility by having the capability to switch from one fuel to another.
If you’re looking to find the right mixture of fuels to meet your operating needs, our custom mixing skids help find the right mix under a controlled environment to help maintain proper combustion.
Below are GE’s offerings to help you achieve fuel flexibility, but we can work with you to determine the best solutions based on your equipment and how you’re running it. Get in touch!
The need for speed
Many gas plants are dispatched more cyclically and with less predictability to help balance renewable generation. For simple cycle peaker plants and combined-cycle plants that cycle more frequently, a faster start allows them to operate more economically—burning less startup fuel, reducing start emissions, and potentially capturing additional ancillary service revenue. Lower emission starts enable many plants to operate cyclically within existing air permits, and in some markets, a fast start time leads to favorable dispatch and qualification for non-spinning reserve payments.
Here’s what GE offers to help achieve faster starts:
Get up to speed, fast
Is your plant operating on a grid with ever increasing renewable power? If so, you’re at a bigger risk for grid instability, frequency excursions and blackouts, all of which are driving grid authorities to impose stricter regulations, as well as create new ancillary services markets for grid stability. GE has service offerings to help you better plan for and respond to variable, intermittent generation sources to safely and reliably enable greater renewable penetration.
If your plant is controlled by Automatic Generation Control (AGC), it’s financially imperative that you respond quickly and accurately. Our grid services solutions can help you survive grid frequency excursions and respond to events to help restore the grid.
If you’re operating in simple cycle,you’ve only got 10 minutes to get power to the grid. That’s where our purge credit offering can help. Performing the necessary purge as the unit is being shut down, instead of during startup, saves minutes normally spent evacuating unused gases. So when you start up your gas turbine, you can skip most of the purge process and go directly to burning fuel.
In combined-cycle operation, it’s possible to start up your gas and steam turbines and HRSG even more quickly while maintaining safety. Our OpFlex Autoblend automates the HRSG blending process to better manage steam temperature and flow when bringing additional gas turbines online.
These are just a few ways you can achieve faster ramp, but we can work with you to determine the best solutions based on your equipment and how you’re running it. Get in touch!
Shorten those cycle windows
Combined-cycle plants are cycling more than they were originally designed to because of increasing amounts of renewable energy sources. How often you cycle is unique to your plant—but whether you have a daily run, a weekday-only run, or a different operational cycle, lowering your minimum downtime can produce financial benefits.
We can work with you to determine the safest, most effective and efficient minimum downtime for your units. Need technologies to keep your plant warm? Or looking to maintain your condenser vacuum? Get in touch and we’ll connect you with our engineering team!
Weathering the seasons
As intermittent resources become a larger percentage of generating capacity, ensuring a reliable and cost- effective grid is more important than ever.
Whether you need additional summer or winter capacity to capture opportunities related to high-demand periods, there are a variety of GE power augmentation solutions available to increase Pmax and provide the additional top-end MW flexibility needed.
Not sure which solutions are right for you? Get in touch with a GE sales representative and we’ll work with you to develop the right approach to suit your specific needs. Contact us!
NOx at the main stack, using DLNe 2.6 combustion
net combined cycle efficiency of the 7HA.03
“We are honored to support KOSPO in reducing carbon through power and thermal energy via liquefied natural gas. Natural gas-fired combined cycle power plants are the lowest emitting fossil fuel power plants, and with South Korea’s power generation stemming primarily from fossil sources, the 7HA will play a critical role in the transition to its lower carbon future.”
added to asset life
“Replacing the existing gas turbines at the Penal Power Station with GE’s upgraded units will improve our generation efficiency and add value in terms of greater availability by establishing longer intervals between scheduled maintenance outages.”
turndown after AFS upgrade
“The new combustion system configuration increased the flexibility, efficiency, fuel savings and, consequently the overall sustainability of our refinery. In addition, by reducing load minimum turndown of the gas turbine, we can match potential energy trading market opportunity and add new revenue streams by the ability to sell additional power range to the grid which we were unable to do before.”
Flexibility means versatility. We have solutions to help maintain your plant's performance during frequent cycling.