By Myrna M. Velasco
Solutions are being sought from German industrial giant Siemens AG on how the first gas-fired power plants of First Gen Corporation would be able to extend their life cycles as well as improve future reliability on their generation so they could serve customers for even longer duration.
Various power plant-users of the F-Class turbines of Siemens had been in the country recently to discuss the future on the operational facets of such machines; and project developers were also able to compare notes on their experiences as well as the technology solutions they have been batting for to stretch the operating life of their power generating assets.
The Users’ Group Meeting of 4000F gas turbines that was hosted by First Gen in Manila congregated representatives from various countries (Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam), primarily to discuss not just concerns but also best-case models and scenarios in the deployment of such turbines in more than 30,000-megawatt of combined cycle power fleets in the world.
For the Philippines, in particular, the 1,000MW Santa Rita and 500MW San Lorenzo gas-fired power plants of First Gen are running on F-Class turbines supplied by Siemens.
“We, as users, could compare notes and talk to other users and understand their experiences and the opportunities and then we feed that back to Siemens and we ask Siemens how can you help us to meet the challenge of the next operating cycle of these plants,” Jon Russell, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of First Gen said.
He qualified that “First Gen’s strategy in the Philippine energy market aligns very nicely with Siemens – as we see where the future is going,” with him emphasizing that the turbines for Santa Rita and San Lorenzo have so far been well-maintained.
“They’re in really great condition and they’ve got a life ahead of them. What we can do is look for ways where we can invest in new technology to enhance their reliability moving forward – and that’s part of the discussion,” Russell stressed.
Brian Byrne, chief executive officer for Asia in the Power Generation Services of Siemens indicated that “in terms of the existing fleets today, it is far more F-Class machines,” adding that “F-Class occupies substantial portion in the Asian market.”
On future turbine deployments in the next wave of gas-fired power projects, he opined that F-Class would still have its place in the market; while ventures are also moving into the more advanced H and HL-class turbines; especially with the energy markets’ transitioning into having higher integration of renewables into power systems.
“In terms of future direction, it will be more H and HL-Class, because as you move forward, technology improves in terms of size and performance,” but he specified that technology deployments will still “depend on the individual economics of each project. There are still projects on F-Class and there are still projects on H-Class, it depends on the demand and what market you’re serving – so there are options.”
Je Jun Oh, vice president of Asia sales for Siemens added that “combined cycle gas turbines burning LNG (liquefied natural gas) can be very competitive,” stressing that the German industrial giant’s new HL-Class turbine has efficiency level topping 63 percent.