GE provides ESS-gas turbine peaker system to balance renewable loads for SCE

Written By: Stratton Report
April 17, 2017

On April 17, GE and SCE announced the installation of what the firms described as the first battery-gas turbine hybrid system in Norwalk, California. The unit, per the companies, is the first of two units that supplier GE has delivered for SCE.

GE noted that the system supports SCE’s increasing renewable energy capacity by providing quick start, fast ramping capabilities when they are needed, integrating a 10 MW, 4.3-MWh battery energy storage system capable of immediately providing power with GE’s proven 50MW LM6000 aero-derivative gas turbine.

Among the speakers that attended the event were Mary Nichols, Chair, California Air Resources Board (CARB), Jill Whynot, Deputy Executive Officer, Operations South Coast Air Quality Management (SCAQMD) and Tom Doughty, Vice President, California Independent System Operator (CAISO).

SCE President Ron Nichols noted:

The new system will help SCE better utilize the resources on the grid, provide enhanced reliability, reduce environmental impact, and reduce cost for our operations and for our customers. This technology also allows us to continue to expand our use of solar, wind and other renewable resources.

Per the firms, the project is designed to help meet California’s commitment to derive 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030; the units are designed to help balance variable energy supply and demand, including during evening hours when the sun sets and solar power production falls while electricity usage surges as customers return home and turn on lights and appliances. The energy storage capacity of the battery has been designed to provide enough time coverage to allow the gas turbine to start and reach its designated power output, without the need to burn fuel and consume water in stand-by mode to be able to dispatch power immediately when demand surges.

Reinaldo Garcia, President and CEO of Grid Solutions from GE Energy Connections observed: “As the electrical grid network continues to evolve, with more intermittent renewables being added every day, products like the Hybrid EGT can help smooth out the delivery of electricity. Storage and the ability to quickly push power to the grid also play a key role in emergency situations, dispatching energy immediately to the grid ensuring that we are able help keep the lights on for everyone.”

The firms stressed that the unit’s design, along with new emission controls, will provide enhanced flexibility in the operation of the peaker while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution by 60 percent.

Paul McElhinney, President & CEO for GE Power Services remarked:  “We worked with SCE to address a very specific need, but this solution has applications that go far beyond. We look forward to working with customers to develop tailor-made solutions that will allow them greater flexibility when incorporating renewable energy and other quick power needs.”