GE ships final engine for Sky Global One gas-fired peaking project in Texas

General Electric (NYSE: GE) announced Sept. 8 that it has shipped the sixth and final Jenbacher J920 FleXtra gas engine for Sky Global Partners LLC‘s power plant in Colorado County, Texas, located beside San Bernard Electric Cooperative’s Rock Island substation.

The final unit is expected to arrive in the U.S. in early September, completing shipment for the largest North American power project for GE’s J920 FleXtra gas engine so far. The plant, where ground was broken in January, is expected to enter commercial operation in early 2016.

“This project is the center of our power strategy going forward. It provides us with unprecedented system security, protection from wholesale price spikes and the opportunity to increase the value of our cooperative,” said Billy Marricle, president and general manager of San Bernard. “Our agreements for this project are exceptional. We not only protect our members from rising peak power process, but we also invest and share in the value of the plant as we go.”

GE is providing six of its 8.6-MW J920 FleXtra ultra-fast response, natural gas-fired engine generator sets for the 51-MW Sky Global Power One project, including a multi-year service agreement to increase asset availability. The plant will use no more water than a single residence. Sky Global will sell peaking power generation to San Bernard, which supplies electricity to more than 17,000 members in a seven-county region of south Central Texas.

“As the population of Texas and the San Bernard service area continues to grow, power supply for the region is becoming scarce at times of the year when it is needed most,” said Frank Rotondi, president and CEO of Sky Global. “Consequently, power prices for that period have been volatile, and at times, hundreds of times the normal segment price. The Sky Global Power One plant will allow that San Bernard’s members will have power at affordable costs as these peaking events become more frequent.”

The San Bernard Electric participation in the project includes not only the purchase of power, but also active participation in the management of the plant. The financial collaborators for the plant are Sky Global, Prudential Capital Group and Lincoln National Life Insurance Co. Sky Global is the managing partner. Sky Global has contracted with The Haskell Co. to design and construct the overall plant.

“The best-in-class electrical efficiency of GE’s Jenbacher J920 FleXtra gas engine adds up to big savings in fuel over the life cycle of a plant. Over 15 years, a U.S. facility could realize fuel savings of as much as $15 million for a 100-MW J920 FleXtra power plant with very high simple-cycle efficiency and great flexibility,” said Lorraine Bolsinger, president and CEO for GE’s Distributed Power business. “As our launch partners for the 60-hertz J920 gas engine, Sky Global and San Bernard will benefit from the unit’s ability to provide utilities and industrial customers with fast, reliable, on-site power during peak power-demand periods and as more renewable energy is added to the grid.”

Sky Global Partners was founded in 2007 by a group of individuals with over 4,000 MW of completed independent power development, financing and operational experience. The members of the management team have built and operated power plants and other energy supply sources, managed all aspects of electric generation development and presided over multibillion-dollar energy commodities trading and marketing businesses.

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.