Nuclear

GE launches on-site power, distributed generation business

Issue 3 and Volume 118.

GE

General Electric launched a distributed generation business venture that combines three product lines—Aeroderivative Gas Turbines, Jenbacher Gas Engines and Waukesha Gas Engines.

GE will invest $1.4 billion over the next four years to help meet the world’s growing demand for on-site power systems that are easier to finance, faster to install and more efficient and reliable for customers.

GE also announced a number of agreements including:

  • Two memoranda of understanding with Clean Power Indonesia and PLN for the development and deployment of its integrated biomass gasification power system in Indonesia.
  • Two major Southeast Asia gas engine supply and service agreements with distributed power project developer Navigat Energy Pte Ltd to provide 100 new Jenbacher gas engines that will generate a total of 330 MW in Indonesia and Thailand.
  • An agreement with Malaysian company Green & Smart Sdn Bhd, to provide a solution for waste-to-power using GNS’ patented technology in anaerobic digestors and GE’s Jenbacher gas engine technology to produce power and supply to the Malaysian electricity grid.
  • GE Oil & Gas and GE’s Distributed Power businesses signed a memorandum of understanding with PLN Enjiniring to develop an integrated virtual pipeline power generation pilot project in remote islands of Indonesia.

Vogtle on track to be completed by 2018

Georgia Power officials said the $15 billion Plant Vogtle expansion project is on schedule to be completed by 2018.

The utility said that crews fell 19 months behind on building two new nuclear reactors in 2013. However, the project is still on track to be completed by the projected date. Georgia Power said they are making up for lost time and are completing key stages of the second reactor ahead of schedule.

The new reactors will more than double the generating capacity of the plant.

The nuclear expansion is expected to be operational by the end of 2017 or early 2018.

Judge rules coal-fired plant did not violate Clean Air Act

Luminant won a court battle over alleged Clean Air Act violations at the Big Brown coal-fired power plant in Texas.

A judge with the U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas (Waco) ruled that no violations occurred at the plant and denied all of the Sierra Club’s requested relief after a three-day non-jury trial.

Sierra Club filed the lawsuit in May 2012 alleging that Luminant violated the law due to emissions that occurred during maintenance, startups and shutdowns at the plant between July 2007 and the present. The suit asked for more than $330 million in civil penalties and $140 million in new emission control upgrades.

FP&L, NRC refute St. Lucie nuclear tube wear claims

Spokespeople with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Florida Power & Light said there are no serious safety issues pertaining to steam generator tubes inside Unit 2 at the St. Lucie nuclear power plant in Florida.

The Tampa Bay Times quoted a nuclear policy lecturer who said that inspection reports at the plant showed 1,500 times the norm of tube wear.

However, the NRC and FP&L said there are no steam generator safety problems nor are there tube integrity safety concerns at the plant. If there were safety issues, they would have been reflected in the NRC’s safety oversight program, officials said.

The NRC spokesperson also said the severity of the wear, not the number of wear indicators, is important, and it is unfair to compare the tube wear at St. Lucie to what was seen inside of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in California. The generators used at SONGS were of a different design, type and manufacturer.

The generators will undergo a routine inspection during a planned March outage.

Calpine completes purchase of combined-cycle power plant

Calpine

Calpine Corp. completed the purchase of the 1,050-MW Guadalupe combined-cycle natural gas-fired power plant in Texas for $625 million, or $595 per kilowatt. The deal was announced in December 2013.

The acquisition was funded with a $425 million incremental Term Loan B at Calpine Construction Finance Co. L.P. and cash on hand. The Guadalupe Energy Center includes two 525-MW generation blocks, each consisting on two GE 7FA heat recovery steam generators and one GE steam turbine.

Cape Wind gets $600mn boost

An offshore wind energy project off the coast of Massachusetts received a $600 million loan from a Danish export credit agency. Cape Wind received the loan from EKF. It is subject to finalization of due diligence and completion of documentation. The wind farm is expected to cost at least $2 billion and will be located in Nantucket Sound.

$6.5 billion in loan guarantees finalized for Vogtle

Vogtle

The Department of Energy finalized loan guarantees totaling $6.5 billion for two nuclear reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle in Georgia.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and several officials from Georgia Power and parent company Southern Co. attended a press conference held at Plant Vogtle in Georgia. The conditional loan guarantees were first announced in June 2010, and the DOE and plant co-owners had been in continuous discussions since then. Georgia Power and Oglethorpe Power finalized the loan guarantees for $6.5 billion. The third owner of the new reactors, Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia will finalize its $1.8 billion loan guarantee at a later date. The remaining owner, Dalton Utilities, is not part of the loan guarantee program.

According to a release from Southern, total guaranteed borrowings will be the lesser of 70 percent of the company’s eligible projected costs – or approximately $3.46 billion – and will be funded by the Federal Financing Bank. Georgia Power received an initial draw of $1 billion and future draws may occur as often as quarterly. The loan guarantees apply to borrowings related to the construction of Vogtle units 3 and 4, and any guaranteed borrowings will be full recourse to Georgia Power and secured by a first priority lien on the company’s 45.7 percent ownership interest in the two new units.

During the announcement, Southern Co. CEO Tom Fanning said the process had been a positive one.

“This has been a fair, tough, reasonable negotiation,” Fanning said. “It’s a great thing for America.”

The Nuclear Energy Institute praised the loan guarantee program.

“The use of loan guarantees allows for greater access to the capital markets resulting in lower-cost financing, thereby reducing the cost of electricity to consumers,” said Marvin Fertel, president and CEO of NEI. “This loan guarantee is expected to save Georgia Power customers $200 million on electricity costs.”

Combined-cycle power plant in the works in NC

NTE Energy plans to develop a $450 million natural gas-fired power plant in North Carolina.

The planned 480-MW Kings Mountain Energy Center will use a Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas M501GAC advanced combustion turbine and steam turbine in combined cycle configuration.

Construction is expected to create approximately 300 industry jobs. NTE Energy has started the permitting process and submitted its transmission interconnection request to Duke Energy Carolinas. Construction is expected to begin in 2015 and be fully operational in 2018.

NTE Energy has also announced plans to build the Pecan Creek Energy Center in Texas and the Middletown Energy Center in Ohio.

Pipeline approved for FutureGen CCS project

Illinois regulators approved a 30-mile underground pipeline that would carry carbon dioxide (CO2) from the FutureGen 2.0 clean coal project to a storage site.

The Illinois Commerce Commission approved the 10- to 12-inch diameter pipeline that would be buried at least four feet underground on the way to the storage site from the plant. If it runs under farm ground, it will be buried five feet deep.

The FutureGen 2.0 plant is designed to store 1 million metric tons of carbon a year for 30 years.

The process would capture and store 90 percent of carbon emissions produced by Ameren’s Meredosia power plant, which will be retrofitted to capture and store the CO2.

The FutureGen plant received approval on Jan. 16 from the U.S. Department of Energy to begin construction on the retrofit project. The plant will use an oxy-combustion system, air quality control systems, boiler, steel and other control systems.

Siemens wind turbines to be used at Bison Wind project

Minnesota Power picked Siemens to supply 64 3-MW D3 platform wind turbines for the Bison Wind Energy Center in North Dakota.

The turbines are scheduled for installation starting in mid-June 2014, and commercial operation is slated for December 2014. Siemens will provide transportation, installation and commissioning, as well as a three-year service and maintenance agreement. The blades will be built at Siemens’ manufacturing facility in Iowa, and the D3’s nacelle component will be assembled at the Kansas manufacturing plant.

The 205-MW Bison 4 expansion will increase the project’s total output to nearly 500 MW. The previous three phases went into operations in 2010 and 2012. The second and third phases won the Best Wind Project for Power Engineering‘s 2013 Projects of the Year Awards.

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