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TransCanada and GE

Using Software to Provide Cheaper, Cleaner Electricity for the Big Apple

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5%
increase in overall output
1%
increase in efficiency

    

New York City’s Largest Power Plant

They call New York “the City that never sleeps,” but it takes a lot of electricity to keep it wired. TransCanada’s Ravenswood Generating Station has enough capacity to energize a fifth of the Big Apple, feeding the city’s growing energy needs. Recently, the power company collaborated with GE to make its plant more efficient and reliable so it could increase output and remain competitive.

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A New Brain for Ravenswood

To make its plant more efficient and reliable, TransCanada worked with GE to replace key turbine parts with new components made from advanced materials developed for GE jet engines and connect sensors to software.

“We were basically able to plug-and-play the latest and greatest technology into our existing unit,” says John McWilliams, vice president of energy operations at TransCanada. “GE helped us find ways to be quite competitive with our infrastructure for much, much less.”

The new technology, GE’s Power FlexEfficiency solution helps TransCanada constantly gather and analyze data critical to its turbine performance. A multitude of sensors check gas flows, temperatures, pressures, humidity and other variables, and feed it back into the control system. The system uses the data to fine-tune the turbine to make sure it’s always running at its optimal level. “It’s real time, and it’s interactive,” says McWilliams. “As things are changing, the control system is responding and always optimizing the unit.”

Keeping New York City Up and Running

The Ravenswood plant is now using less fuel to produce the same amount of power, making the electricity it produces cleaner and more efficient. These advances also provide TransCanada with a competitive advantage in bidding in the area’s power industry, allowing TransCanada to continuously monitor and optimize the plant’s operations. Overall, TransCanada has increased its overall output by 5 percent, enough to power 10,000 New York City households.

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