Virginia Electric and Power Co. has ordered three M501J gas turbines from Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas to be manufactured and assembled at Mitsubishi’s Savannah Machinery Works and installed at the power company’s Greenville County Power Station. The new power plant will combine the output of the three M501J gas turbines with a steam turbine, resulting in a new construction gas turbine combined cycle or GTCC power plant, said Sam Suttle, vice president for North American Manufacturing and Repair.
Work on the first of the three turbines is likely to begin in about two months. Utilizing low-cost natural gas, the Virginia plant will be capable of powering more than 400,000 homes once it’s completed in late 2018. GTCC power stations use gas and steam turbines in combination to generate electricity in two stages. The first produces electric power from the gas turbine, and the second utilizes high-temperature exhaust gas from the gas turbine to produce the steam that drives the steam turbine. This enables GTCC power plants to achieve a higher thermal efficiency, which reduces fuel consumption and lowers emissions, Suttle said.
The local plant, which currently has 320 employees, is on track to reach full capacity of 425 to 450 employees by 2018. In addition to the Virginia Electric order, the Savannah plant has contract awards on the books for two new natural gas-powered 501J gas turbines for a new power plant for Enmax Capital Power in Edmonton, Canada, and four new gas turbines for Duke Energy in Florida.