GDF SUEZ hires Alstom to upgrade four gas-fired power plants

GDF SUEZ Energy North America said July 18 that it has awarded Alstom a long-term service contract to give four gas-fired power plants in its fleet new flexibility.

Under the terms of this $480m contract signed on June 28, Alstom will provide comprehensive maintenance services and gas turbine upgrade packages for four GDF SUEZ natural gas-fired stations. The plants together use fourteen Alstom GT24 gas turbines and generate enough electricity to power more than three million homes in Texas and Massachusetts.

“Reliability, flexibility, and efficiency drive performance in our generation business,” said Herman Schopman, president and CEO of GDF SUEZ Energy Generation NA. “This service contract underscores the importance we place on those attributes, and we are pleased to partner with Alstom to continue working on them for the long term.”

Alstom’s responsibilities for the Midlothian and Hays plants in Texas, and Bellingham and Blackstone plants in Massachusetts, include management and provision of replacement parts, technical field advisors and gas turbine services for their fourteen power generating units over the life of the contract. The first upgrade installation is scheduled for the fall of 2014.

Alstom will upgrade the turbines with features enabling plant operators to switch between operating modes based on electricity market demand without taking the plant offline. The first operating mode included in this upgrade package maximizes power output during periods of peak demand while the second lowers the cost of running and maintaining the gas turbines by increasing the time between service inspections.

This boost in operational flexibility is particularly important in the highly-competitive Texas electricity market where plants are often called on to rapidly increase and decrease power output, GDF SUEZ noted.

“Alstom has invested heavily in advancing its natural gas power generating technologies to better meet the long-term needs of its customers,” said Hans-Peter Meer, Senior Vice President of Alstom’s Thermal Services business. “For GDF SUEZ Energy North America, those investments will translate into bottom-line benefits once the GT24 upgraded fleet is performing to the new standard in operational flexibility.”

The four power stations included in this agreement constitute the largest fleet of Alstom GT24 gas turbines owned by a single customer, and Alstom has provided service support for the plants since they entered commercial service.

Based in Houston, GDF SUEZ Energy North America is responsible for managing GDF SUEZ‘s positions in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Alstom is a global leader in the world of power generation, power transmission and rail infrastructure, setting the benchmark for innovative and environmentally friendly technologies.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.