PSEG New York plans turbine upgrades at Bethlehem Energy Center

In response to requests made by New Yorjk Department of Public Service staff, PSEG Power New York LLC on Nov. 9 filed with the State Public Service Commission a second supplement to its Petition for Amendment of its Article X Certificate for the Bethlehem Energy Center (BEC) dated Jan. 16, 2015.

The filed Sound Level Measurement Protocol was prepared in response to the staff request. PSEG Power New York is seeking to perform General Electric Advanced Gas Path (AGP) upgrades at the three GE 7FA gas turbines at the Bethlehem Energy Center (BEC) over the coming years. If approved, the units would be upgraded sequentially per year, starting in 2017.

DPS staff requested a sound measurement survey, so as to determine whether the upgrades result in any measureable changes in noise emissions attributable to the gas turbine inlets and/or the Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) exhaust outlets. Sound measurements will be conducted at a minimum before and after the first upgrade, the filing noted.

PSEG Power New York last decade redeveloped the 400-MW Albany Steam Station into a 750-MW combined-cycle facility called the Bethlehem Energy Center. The New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment issued a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the BEC in February 2002. The AGP project requires an amendment to that certificate.

All of the components to be upgraded are inside the three affected turbines, and the work would simply replace existing parts with newer ones made of better materials and improved design. Software updates would also be installed that would improve output at higher operating loads, and ensure air emission limits would continue to be met at all operating loads. This work would result in an improvement in efficiency (heat rate) of approximately 1.2%, and a reduction in operation and maintenance costs due to the increased durability of the parts, all without affecting air emissions.

Affected are BEC Units 1, 2 and 3. General Electric has made advancements in combustion turbine technology, specifically in the hot gas path components and control system to improve fuel delivery and overall performance. The gas path components utilize improved aerodynamics, seals and cooling design to provide higher efficiency performance and greater power output. The increase in efficiency will be accomplished by: increasing the CT firing temperature; reducing clearances between parts in the hot gas section; and by installing low pressure drop combustion liners. The existing hot gas path components such as buckets, shrouds, nozzles, and associated structural elements will be replaced with functionally identical equipment designed to operate at higher temperatures.

Incidentally, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation went out for comment on Aug. 17 on a draft air permit approval that would cover this upgrade project. Bethlehem Energy Center consists of three combustion generating turbines burning pipeline quality natural gas and low sulfur distillate oil with supplementary-fired HRSGs, a steam turbine generator and a pipeline quality natural gas-fired package boiler.

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.