Xcel orders GE turbine for Black Dog repower project in Minnesota

General Electric (NYSE: GE) said Dec. 8 that Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) plans to build a new natural gas unit at the Black Dog power plant site in Minnesota, and has specified a high-efficiency 7F.05 gas turbine from GE to replace the plant’s retired coal-fired steam boiler.

“Xcel Energy is committed to reducing carbon-dioxide emissions and providing our customers with cleaner and reliable electricity. Building the new gas-fired unit at Black Dog is a significant step forward,” said Brian Behm, plant director, Black Dog Generating Plant, Xcel Energy.

The 7F.05 unit is expected to be used in peaking operation. The 7F.05 gas turbine offers nearly 40% simple cycle efficiency. Within 10 minutes, the unit can provide 75% of full power to the grid.

“In addition to providing cleaner energy, the 7F.05 is known for being highly efficient and flexible – offering fast ramping and low turndown within emissions compliance,” said Joe Mastrangelo, president and CEO, gas power systems at GE Power. “By using this GE technology at Black Dog, we can help Xcel Energy reduce emissions while generating fast, reliable, and cost-effective power to meet capacity requirements.”

GE’s 7F.05 unit fits into the existing power plant footprint. Xcel Energy and GE worked together to ensure the gas turbine could be installed into the previous coal-fired facility, using the existing steam turbine foundation. The new Black Dog unit is expected to enter commercial operation in 2018.

The order for the Black Dog project is the latest of 65 7F.05 units ordered among a total of 89 technical selections globally. GE said its advanced F-class technology has proven its capacity for cleaner, efficient and reliable power production with more than 1,100 gas turbines installed, accumulating over 50 million operating hours.

The Northern States Power subsidiary of Xcel Energy applied Oct. 15 at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for a site permit on the 215-MW Black Dog Unit 6 Project. The commission had previously approved this project as part of the utility’s recent Competive Resource Acquisition case. Black Dog Unit 6 is a simple-cycle natural gas-fired combustion unit designed to provide approximately 215 MW of nominal peaking capabilities. The project will be located at the Black Dog Generating Plant in Burnsville, Minnesota.

Construction is scheduled to begin in June 2016 with foundation work for the new unit. Initial startup is planned for early 2018, with commercial operation in April 2018, the utility noted.

Black Dog Unit 6 will provide approximately 215 MW of nominal peaking capabilities and will be built in the existing powerhouse building for Unit 4. Both Units 3 and 4 were retired in early spring 2015.

The Black Dog Generating Facility is located south of the Minnesota River, about 15 miles south of Minneapolis and west of the City of Eagan.

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.