High-tech gas turbines will add Verve to WA grid

The GE Energy LMS100 turbines operate at 44-50% efficiency – significantly greater than conventional open cycle generators, which run at around 30-35% efficiency.GE says the LMS100 turbines use “aeroderivative” technology borrowed from the company’s jet engine division.Part of that technology is an intercooled compressor that significantly improves the turbine’s hot weather performance – an important benefit for Perth’s peak demand days in summer.Energy Minister Peter Collier said the high efficiency turbines had not been installed anywhere else in Australia.“They will be at least one-third more efficient than the generators they will replace and more efficient than the existing open-cycle gas turbines in Verve Energy’s fleet,” he said.Collier said the new turbines were also better designed for stop-start operation, which will give Verve more flexibility and reduce its carbon profile.Construction will start soon for completion by late 2011.The minister said Verve was negotiating with a potential joint venture partner to fund a refurbishment and recommissioning of the Muja A and B power stations.The coal-fired Muja A and B stations are more than 40 years old and were mothballed two years ago.“A refurbished Muja AB, with a total capacity of 240 megawatts, fitted out to improve its environmental performance, will help address potential energy security concerns flowing from the slowdown of investment in new generation caused by the current economic downturn,” Collier said.“Verve Energy’s ageing fleet is becoming less reliable and investment is required to ensure these assets can be relied upon.”

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