Florida Power & Light (FPL) has contracted Siemens Energy to supply six 60 Hz H-class gas turbine-generator packages for the modernisation of its Riviera Beach and Cape Canaveral facilities and to service the machines under a 15-year agreement for all turbines. Each power plant will use three of the SGT6-8000H gas turbines, which are rated at 274 MW in simple cycle (compared with 375 MW for the 50 Hz version) and will achieve an efficiency of “approximately 60 percent” in combined cycle mode, with a single shaft CCGT rating of 410 MW (compared with 570 MW for the 50 Hz equivalent).

The Cape Canaveral modernisation is scheduled to begin in mid 2010 and that at Riviera Beach in late 2010. The H-class machines will replace existing 1960s era gas- and oil-fired units, with the new plants expected to be in service in 2013 and 2014.

The engineering and design of the SGT6-8000H gas turbine, which is fully air cooled (see MPS, September 2009, pp 13-19), took place in Orlando, Florida, Siemens Energy’s North America headquarters location. More than 250 of its Florida-based engineers and other professionals will be dedicated to working on these projects during the design and installation phase, says Siemens.

FPL suspended activity on the modernisations in January in order to evaluate the impact of a rate case decision, including its effect on FPL’s creditworthiness and implications for the cost of capital.

Following an in-depth analysis, the company announced at the end of April that it had determined it was appropriate to move ahead with the modernisation projects, which represent a total investment of $2 billion.

FPL says the projects will benefit its customers for decades to come, in the form

of fuel savings and improvements in environmental performance and reliability, while staying in line with current operating costs.

“These decisions were not easy, but we believe that the near-term focus on keeping operating costs in line while continuing to invest in our infrastructure to deliver the best value, service and reliability over the long term represents a balanced and responsible approach to meeting the needs of our customers,” said FPL President and CEO Armando J. Olivera.

FPL estimates that the new units will save customers in the region of $850 million to $950 million over their lives compared with keeping the existing facilities in the fleet.

In addition, the new units will improve air quality by reducing particulate emissions by 88 percent at these sites and improve the plants’ carbon dioxide emission rate by more than 50 per cent. Furthermore, the new plants don’t require any additional use of water or land.

“Since the rate case decision, we have been downgraded by two rating agencies and are on negative watch by another. We strongly believe that the Florida Public Service Commission underestimated the actual cost of FPL’s equity in the recent base rate proceeding. This continues to be a source of concern to us. At the same time, an in-depth analysis has made it clear that the modernisations at Riviera Beach and Cape Canaveral continue to show a substantial benefit for our customers. As a result, we will move forward with the projects. Implicit in this decision, of course, is the recognition that we must demonstrate to the PSC throughout the service lives of these important investments, the need for a fair and appropriate return to the investors who will help to make these and other projects a reality,” Olivera said.

FPL has also suspended activity on its proposed natural gas pipeline. The company believes that Florida still needs a third natural gas pipeline to enhance fuel security and give customers access to additional markets. However, given the revised load forecast, new natural gas supplies are not projected to be needed until 2016. As a result, FPL will be evaluating options in 2011 for developing a third pipeline.

…and hands over MaasStroom

Siemens also reports the hand over of the 428 MW MaasStroom Energie combined cycle power plant (MECV) in the Port of Rotterdam (formerly known as Rijnmond 2) ahead of schedule to developer/owner/operator InterGen.

The plant has an efficiency of over 59% and is one of a new wave of Siemens combined cycle projects in Europe with advanced fast start and fast cycling features, others including Timelkam in Austria, Sloecentrale and Enecogen also in the Netherlands, Pont sur Sambre and Emile Huchet in France, Irsching 5 in Germany, Severn Power and Marchwood in the UK, and Pego in Portugal.

MECV, which is equipped with an SGT5-4000F gas turbine, is designed for 250 starts per year and is capable of supplying power to the grid within a mere 30 to 40 minutes, backing up wind capacity.

It also achieves NOx levels below 15 ppm, thanks to state-of-the-art burner technology plus SCR (selective catalytic reduction).

Siemens has recently announced yet another combined cycle project award in the Netherlands, also employing an SGT5-4000F gas turbine: Nuon’s 433 MW Hemweg 9 plant. This has a contractual efficiency of 59.4%, which is impressive for an F class based facility. It also being built “district heating ready”, with a capability of

100 MWt.