GE to enhance efficiency of Alberta natural gas plant

GE will upgrade TransCanada Energy's MacKay River cogeneration plant with advanced technology that will deliver more power capacity, while enabling the facility to maintain a low emissions footprint

Atlanta, October 11, 2012 — GE will upgrade TransCanada Energy's MacKay River cogeneration plant with advanced technology that will deliver more power capacity, while enabling the facility to maintain a low emissions footprint.

GE will provide a solution to ensure high operational reliability, increased output and alignment with the region's clean energy policies while it provides electricity and steam for oil sands extraction at the 165 MW plant, located northwest of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.

The project will apply GE's Advanced Gas Path solution to its natural gas-fired 7FA turbine. AGP technology enables power providers to operate more efficiently and reliably by upgrading hot gas path, bucket, nozzle and shroud components with design and material innovations.

This installation will be complemented by the advanced controls capabilities of several GE OpFlex solutions including a Cold Day Performance app. Together, these enhancements are expected to increase the plant's output by up to 4.5 percent, with the potential to increase steam and electricity production further in the future.

The plant runs nearly 24 hours a day and has consistently maintained high levels of availability while sustaining low emissions. An on-site cogeneration system is more efficient than a central power plant since thermal energy that would otherwise be wasted is captured for use. This efficiency aligns with the province of Alberta's policies on the use of clean energy in the development of oil sands resources.

The upgrades are part of a comprehensive GE contractual service agreement, which will provide maintenance services to the plant through 2024. GE CSAs are structured to help customers with predictable maintenance costs, while ensuring high availability and a steady revenue flow from power plant operations. To date, GE has long-term service agreements, including CSAs, in place at more than 700 sites worldwide.

GE's OpFlex upgrades for the project include Enhanced Transient Stability (ETS), AutoTune and Cold Day Performance solutions. ETS provides robust combustor operability in the face of grid frequency and load instabilities. AutoTune eliminates the need for combustion retuning by making real-time adjustments to control parameters based on performance, environmental conditions and variation in fuel properties. Cold Day Performance allows gas turbines to operate at higher loads during cold temperatures, a key benefit for MacKay River because of the region's extremely cold weather.

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