Innovating to Succeed
Texas is no stranger to droughts, but the most recent one has lasted for years, and has hit smaller towns like Granbury particular hard. “The lake water was down so low that the water was two or three hundred feet away from the docks,” said Ed Lesh, a project director at the Wolf Hollow 2 Power Plant.
When it comes to power generation planning, a drought can stop a company in its tracks, but in a more than half-a-billion-dollar order, Exelon, one of the largest competitive U.S. power generators, purchased four GE 7HA gas turbines, two D600 steam turbines, six generators, and a contractual service agreement for the Wolf Hollow and Colorado Bend 1000 MW combined-cycle projects. The plants will use the latest GE power generation technology with air-cooled condensers that needs just 10% of the water amount typically required to cool such large installations, and save millions of gallons of water a day.
This represents the first U.S. order for GE’s highest efficiency HA turbine, adding to recent orders in Japan, France, and Russia. Together with the steam turbines and generators, they will add a total of 2,000 MW of additional capacity for the projects. The equipment is expected to ship in 2016, and the plants are due to be operational in 2017, helping Exelon provide additional capacity to the expanding Texas energy grid.
“At Exelon, we view ourselves as good stewards of our community, so it’s important to reduce water consumption while still delivering economically advantageous electricity in Texas and the 7HA.02 gas turbine helps us do that,” said Corey Hesser, Exelon’s VP of Generation Development.
The key to saving water is the combination of GE’s technology with an air- cooled condenser, reports Lesh. “Most power plants use a cooling tower, but an air-cooled condenser uses 1/10th of the water thata cooling tower uses.”
The project will bring more than 1,000 jobs to the community. Thanks to the 7HA’s enhanced efficiency Exelon is helping to power small towns like Granbury, and most importantly, help them continue to thrive.