Électricité de France and GE have announced plans to jointly develop and showcase the first FlexEfficiency 50 plant to be connected to a national grid. It will be a 510 MWe CC plant, due to start up in 2015, is expected to become the most efficient combined cycle plant in France and will be the first in the world to come on line, ahead of similar GE projects already announced for Turkey, Japan and China.

The joint development phase is essentially a trial of the flexibility, emissions compliance and efficiency rates for the FlexEfficiency brand under the conditions of real power production. It will be located at Bouchain, an existing EDF power plant site in northern France, and will be the first fruit of GE’s $500 million investment in researching and developing the brand.

The plant is expected to achieve greater than 61 percent efficiency at base load. Its operating flexibility (60% + efficiency down to 85% loa and fast start up) should enable the plant to respond quickly to fluctuations in grid demand, paving the way for greater use of renewable resources such as wind and solar.

“The signing of this strategic partnership marks a new chapter in the industrial story of fossil-fueled power generation, shared by GE Energy and EDF for nearly 40 years,” said Henri Proglio, chairman and CEO of EDF. The plant also will help France meet Europe’s 20/20/20 energy goals.

Both EDF and GE will invest in the plant, which is scheduled to be brought into service in late 2015. The FlexEfficiency 50 plant, says GE, is an integrated, highly efficient system that includes these key components: a next-generation 9FB gas turbine, a 109D-14 steam turbine, an advanced W28 generator, a Mark* Vle control system that links all of the technologies and a heat recovery steam generator.