GE to increase Progress Energy plant by 16 MW

An advanced technology upgrade of two GE (NYSE: GE) gas turbines at a Progress Energy power plant in the Smith Energy Complex will help the site continue meeting growing energy demands through increased output, greater efficiency and lower emissions.

GE will upgrade two GE Frame 7FA Gas Turbines, which have been operating on natural gas since 2002, with compressor and combustion system enhancements as well as GE’s new Advanced Gas Path to improve the site’s output by 16 megawatts and fuel efficiency by more than 1 percent. GE expects the upgrades to extend the plant’s parts life and increase the time between scheduled outages.

GE’s new Advanced Gas Path solution for the 7FA expands gas turbine output and heat rate performance through both material and design innovations.

More than 750 GE Frame 7FA Gas Turbines are in operation worldwide and have been proven in more than 25 million hours of service. The 7FA fleet accounts for 15 percent of North America’s installed electrical capacity.

“This project has been a close collaboration between Progress Energy and GE to identify a solution that will deliver higher levels of performance to the Richmond County site without sacrificing operational flexibility or reliability,” said James A. Kaveney, general manager of GE Energy’s Power Generation Services Americas group.

The site’s upgrade package also includes dry low NOx (DLN) combustion technology designed to lower emissions while saving water. GE DLN combustors are equipped on more than 650 7FA Gas Turbines with more than 20 million fired hours.

GE also will install an Enhanced Transient Stability application at the Smith Energy Complex. This advanced controls solution will help protect the plant against grid instability. By minimizing the effect of grid transients, the power plant can see higher up time and provide critical power during this time period. This controls based solution can be installed during a typical hot gas path or major inspection.

The enhancement project is scheduled to be completed by October 2012.