GE marks opening of 51-MW Sky Global gas-fired plant in Texas

General Electric (NYSE: GE) on April 26 announced the opening of Sky Global Partners LLC’s power plant in Texas, which features six of GE’s Jenbacher J920 FleXtra gas engines.

These represent the first six 60-hertz, 8.6-MW units to be in commercial operation in the United States. The plant is located in Colorado County, Texas, and will supply peaking power to meet the power demands of the 18,000 members of San Bernard Electric Cooperative (SBEC) in an eight-county region of south Central Texas.

GE provided six of its 60-hertz, Ecomagination qualified, 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.

“This project is a testament to our strong relationship with Sky Global Partners. The plant will not only serve the electrical needs of our membership when needed, but it also will be a merchant plant for others when not serving our needs,” said Billy Marricle, president and general manager of San Bernard. “This is a significant part of our power strategy going forward and provides us with protection from electricity exchange price spikes and the opportunity to increase the value of our cooperative.”

Due to the increasing installed base of renewable power generation in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas region and the intermittent nature of these energy sources, the power plant must be able to provide a very high degree of flexibility within a short period to offset the volatility of the wind and solar resources, thus ensuring grid stability.

While GE supplied the core equipment consisting of six engines and the exhaust emission reduction systems, Sky Global Partners contracted with Haskell to design and construct the overall power plant. Sky Global Partners is the managing partner. SBEC’s participation in the project includes not only purchasing power, but also active participation in the management of the power plant. The financial collaborators for the plant are Sky Global Partners, Prudential Capital Group and The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company.

“For over a decade, Sky Global had been seeking a means to improve the value of power supply for the public power sector in Texas. This project is the first to achieve that vision, which is largely due to the combined efforts of GE’s technology, Haskell’s execution, Prudential Capital Group’s unique financing structure and the strategy of SBEC’s leadership,” said Frank Rotondi, president and CEO of Sky Global Partners.

“Reliable and flexible power is key to economic success,” said Heiner Markhoff, president and CEO for GE Water & Distributed Power at GE Power. “As Texas continues to grow, it must invest in more power generation to ensure a reliable and affordable supply during peak power, and the Sky Global Power One project is one solution to help solve Texas’ energy needs. The best-in-class electrical efficiency of GE’s Jenbacher J920 FleXtra gas engines adds up to big savings in fuel over the life cycle of a plant.”

San Bernard Electric Cooperative began in 1939 and derived its name from the San Bernard River, which is the common boundary between Austin and Colorado counties. Currently the cooperative has approximately 3,900 miles of line serving approximately 25,000 meters in eight Texas counties – Austin, Colorado, Fayette, Grimes, Harris, Lavaca, Montgomery and Waller.

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.