Exelon Generation announced today that it is planning to build two combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) units in Texas utilizing a new General Electric technology that will make them among the cleanest, most efficient CCGTs in the state and the nation. The new units are being built on existing Exelon sites: one at Colorado Bend Generating Station, currently a 498 MW natural gas plant in Wharton County, TX; and the other at the 704 MW Wolf Hollow natural gas plant in Granbury, TX. Each new unit will add approximately 1,000 MW of capacity to their respective sites.
Alstom Power will provide the Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSGs) to produce the steam necessary to maximize generating capacity and efficiency at each unit. Additionally, being mindful of increased water efficiency in drought-prone Texas, the new units will be cooled with air instead of water.
"Exelon is a forward-looking company, and what we see is a clean energy future that includes this kind of new technology, which uses little water and produces few emissions while generating electricity at a very low cost," said Ken Cornew, president and CEO, Exelon Generation. "We're delighted to be the first to employ this GE technology, and we're delighted to do it in Texas. This is how Exelon sees the energy future of America – clean, affordable and efficient."
Victor Abate, president and CEO, power generation products at GE Power and Water, said, "These combined cycle plants will use our air-cooled 7HA.02 gas turbines, which provide the most output, highest efficiency and best operational flexibility for 60 Hz applications. They are designed to start fast, ramp up more quickly and turndown more efficiently than any other H-class turbine on the market today. This translates into enabling Exelon to deliver power quickly when it is needed and to ramp down when it is not."
A simplified design approach provides for easier construction and maintenance, making these units among the most predictable and least costly to operate and maintain in the industry. The HA turbines apply advanced materials from GE aircraft engines, incorporating single-crystal alloys and thermal barrier coatings to deliver longer parts life for lower lifecycle costs. This enables the turbines to operate at higher temperatures (over 2600 degrees F), increasing efficiency and further reducing ongoing maintenance costs. GE has more than 100 million hours of single-crystal experience, and has been testing and developing thermal barrier coatings and ceramic matrix composites for 15 years.
John B. Zachry, CEO & Chairman of Zachry Holdings, Inc., stated "We are pleased to be working with Exelon to help meet the expanding electric energy needs in our home state by deploying efficient, advanced-class, combined cycle generating technology. More than 1,000 of our highly-skilled engineering, procurement and construction employees will work on these two very important projects."
Construction of the units is expected to begin in 2015 with commercial operation targeted for 2017. These projects will bring approximately 1,000 engineering and construction-related jobs and 17 permanent operations jobs to the communities surrounding these sites.