Latest industry news briefs

European Commission clears GE’s purchase of Alstom generation, transmission assets

However, there’s still work to do to address competition concerns. To complete the deal, the parties offered to divest key personnel and the technologically most advanced parts of Alstom’s heavy-duty gas-turbine business to continue their development—including:

      • Alstom’s technology for the GT 26 and GT 36 gas turbines, existing upgrades, and pipeline technology for future upgrades.

      • A large number of Alstom R&D engineers who will continue developing Alstom’s heavy-duty gas-turbine technology.

      • The two test facilities for the GT 26 and GT 36 engines in Birr, Switzerland.

      • Long-term service agreements for 34 GT 26 gas turbines already sold.

      • PSM

GE proposed Ansaldo SpA as a possible purchaser of these assets. Logic: The Italian company is an existing competitor in the heavy-duty GT market. It has know-how, experience, and manufacturing facilities for gas turbines and other equipment often sold together with GTs—such as steam turbines and generators.

The commitments offered by GE will allow the purchaser to replicate Alstom’s previous role in the market, thereby maintaining effective competition. GE can complete the acquisition of Alstom only after the EC has formally assessed and approved divestiture of the assets listed above.

The US Dept of Justice issued a companion order to the EC’s, both released on September 8, requiring GE to divest PSM to resolve DOJ’s competitive concerns in the antitrust lawsuit it had filed to block the proposed acquisition.

New outage management software promises shorter outages, reduced risks, lower costs

Enterprise Processes, Planning, and Performance (ep³) releases its Outage Management Metrics (OMM) system to help owner/operators manage outages with greater efficiency and fewer resources. OMM is but one component of ep³’s Quad C® advanced software platform for optimizing maintenance and engineering, asset management, and operations activities.

A key feature of OMM is that it continuously improves the outage planning process by gathering user input and building organizational intelligence, making subsequent outages more efficient and effective. The hosted software easily transfers, ensuring that critical institutional knowledge remains with the asset.

Malcolm Hubbard, ep³’s director of operations and customer support and a former plant manager, told the editors he has faced the same challenges every plant manager confronts during an outage. This experience contributed to the design of a software package that’s easy to use and able to address the needs of both plant and asset managers. Hubbard said it enables users “to achieve best practices which will minimize outage schedules, reduce risks, and lower vendor costs.”

According to Dwayne Boyer, O&M manager at New Athens Generating Co, a G-class combined-cycle plant in New York State, “Most outage software platforms have critical shortcomings that delay operations and elevate both risks and costs. ep³ brings extensive hands-on experience and a unique software design approach to an age-old process.”

Critical Component Management (CCM), the second application in the Quad C suite, is schedule for release this fall. It uses field-capable tablet photo apps to allow for efficient and accurate real-time collection of necessary asset and parts data—such as maintenance history, validation of component position, and unit and associated outage ID.

Industry news 7F15 Issue 2

Ken Knecht (left) and Paul Tucker monitor onsite gas-turbine rotor disassembly


First Independent Rotor Services of Texas (FIRST)/Technical Bolting Solutions (TBS), Houston-based, announces the addition of Ken Knecht to its team of gas- and steam-turbine solutions providers. President Paul Tucker said Knecht brings over 30 years of rotating-equipment expertise to FIRST’s Turbine Overhaul and Special Products Div. He will assist end users onsite with turbine mods and upgrades, vibration analysis/correction, balancing, and project supervision (technical advisor).

NTE Energy, St. Augustine, Fla, selects Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas Inc to provide a gas-only M501GAC turbine for its Middletown Energy Center. Commercial operation is planned for April 2018. MHPSA reports that its 501G fleet has logged nearly two and a half million operating hours worldwide; also, that sales of G- and J-technology units now total 133 engines.

Professor Brian Johnson, Univ of Idaho College of Engineering, is named the first Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Chair in Power Engineering. The position was made possible by a $2 million gift from SEL. In announcing the endowed chair, SEL President Ed Schweitzer said of the first recipient, “He’s already made such a big impact on so many students, and we hope this growing partnership between SEL and the Univ of Idaho will further amplify and expand his influence and work.”

Public Service Enterprise Group, Newark, NJ, selects Siemens to supply the main components for its Keys Energy Center, a 735-MW 2 × 1 combined cycle powered by SGT6-5000F gas turbines. First operation of the Maryland facility is planned for spring 2018.

Xcel Energy’s Cherokee Generating Station, believed to be the first 7F.05-powered combined cycle to enter service, began commercial operation on August 20. First fire was the week after the 7F Users Group toured the plant on the first day of its 24th annual meeting at the Sheraton Denver Downtown, May 11-15, 2015. Going from first fire to commercial operation in three months is an impressive accomplishment given the new turbine technology used.

BRUSH, the world’s leading independent manufacturer of electric generators, announces the engineering release of a new shaft-driven oil-pump gear coupling that extends service intervals from 2000 to 45,000 hours without supplementary lubrication. The new coupling incorporates curved-tooth steel hubs and a polyamide sleeve, which allow continuous operation with very low friction on the teeth.

Retirements are taking a deep bite out of the industry’s technical brain trust in 2015. Learned at the CTOTF’s™ 40th anniversary meeting, just concluded at the Coeur d’Alene Resort in Idaho:

      • Bill Simko, former director of generation engineering for NV Energy, and Dan Geil, CT program manager for Duke Energy’s Combustion Turbine Services group, retired a few months back. Simko was known to the group for his outstanding presentations; Geil was the vice chair of the CTOTF’s GE (E-Class) Roundtable and a former member of the 7F Users Group steering committee.

      • Paul White, PE, consulting engineer for Dominion Resources Services Inc, and Ray Martens, managing director of Klamath Cogen and Klamath Peakers, are retiring before year-end. Both White and Martens are recent recipients of the Combined Cycle User Group’s Individual Achievement Award, earned by industry professionals who have demonstrated excellence throughout their careers in the design, construction, management, operation and/or maintenance of generating facilities powered by gas turbines. White was well known to both the CTOTF and 7F Users Group communities for his service as a discussion leader and steering-committee member. Martens, a former roundtable chair for CTOTF, is a vice chair of the 501F Users Group.

      • Wickey and Mike Elmo (Goose Creek Systems Inc) retired as the CTOTF coordinators and conference organizers—trite titles for all they have done in the last two decades—at the close of the fall meeting. Event Planning Solutions LLC (Ivy Suter and Greg Barton) were selected by the CTOTF leadership committee to fulfill those functions going forward.

CTOTF™ announced the locations and dates for its 2016 meetings at the 40th anniversary meeting in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. They are:

      • Spring conference, Renaissance World Golf Village Resort in St. Augustine, Fla, April 3-7.

      • Fall conference, Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa, Rancho Mirage, Calif, September 11-15.

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