Capital Power converting coal-fired Genesee units to combined cycle gas-fired technologies by 2024

Canadian-based electricity producer Capital Power and contractor Burns & McDonnell are halfway through design work on a project to repower and convert coal-fired units to burn lower emitting natural gas at a generation plant near Edmonton.

Capital Power is repowering Units 1 and 2 at the Genesee Generating Station, replacing coal-fired steam generators with gas-fired combined cycle technology. The utility approved its project in 2020, and Missouri-based Burns & McDonnell began design and engineering work earlier this year.

The repowering and conversion of Genesee Unit 1 is expected to reach full combined cycle operation by the end of 2023, while Unit 2 is anticipating commissioning in mid-2024.

The move could lower Genesee’s carbon emissions by 60 percent, according to the company. The repowered units will use selective catalytic reduction technology to minimize nitrogen oxide emissions.

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“We are excited to help Capital Power advance its commitment to reducing carbon emissions while maintaining dependable, resilient generation for its customers,” Jeff Reid, Burns & McDonnell Energy Canada director, said in a statement last month. “Utilizing so much of the existing power plant infrastructure will make this a big win for Alberta. And the utility will benefit greatly from this best-in-class technology, setting a new standard for gas generation efficiency.”

The construction work will install two Mitsubishi M501JAC gas turbines, each of those exhausting into a Vogt triple-pressure heat recovery team generator (HRSG). The HRSG will produce the steam to power the plant’s existing Unit 1 and 2 steam turbines.

Each gas-fired turbine will have a bypass stack to allow operation in simple-cycle mode prior to combined-cycle operation. Each unit will be able to generate approximately 400 MW in simple-cycle mode for a few months while the steam turbines are taken offline to allow for modifications and new combined-cycle tie-ins.

Electrical output will be stepped up to 500-kV and interconnected with a new site substation.

The coal-fired Genesee units 1 and 2 combined for 860 MW output and were originally commissioned in the mid-1980s.

Capital Power owns more than 6,400 MW of power generation capacity at 26 facilities across North America. Projects in advanced development include 425 MW of owned renewable generation capacity in North Carolina and Alberta and 560 MW of incremental natural gas combined-cycle capacity, from the repowering of Genesee 1 and 2 in Alberta.

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Captial Power also had made significant investments in carbon capture technology, which will be a topic during its POWERGEN+ online session later this month with Black & Veatch. The POWERGEN+ sessions are free and available live or on demand.

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