The plant cost ยฃ300 million. It was built and is being operated by GE Power Systems. The new power plant was a replacement for a BP Chemicals facility, which came out of production early in 2004. The efficiency of the power plant is enhanced through the use of district heating to the surrounding area. The Energy Park is sponsored by BP, the Welsh Development Agency and the Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council.
H SYSTEM GAS TURBINES
GE has installed its H system turbines at the facility. The world’s largest gas turbine (the 9H) is 12m long, 5m in diameter, weighs 370t and is rated to produce 480MW of electricity in combined cycle operation. The H System provides high efficiency electricity production with low levels of emissions. According to General Electric, the efficiency of the turbines is close to 60%, giving savings as high as 30% on fuel bills. The possible savings in energy are accentuated by the UK’s imposition of a climate change levy designed to discourage heavy energy use.
The new power plant has one 9H gas turbine, one steam turbine and one electrical generator (with a nominal capacity of 480MW). The plant has combined heat and power (CHP) capability, a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG), steam supply systems with additional heat recovery, black start capability and associated auxiliaries such as cooling towers, water treatment plant and back-up steam supplies. The site also includes a GE LM2500 aeroderivative power generation system capable of black starting (i.e. starting with no electrical input). This is effectively a small, extra power plant.
POWER PLANT CONSTRUCTION TIMETABLE
The first application to build a power plant at the site was made in 1996. This was made by BP Amoco, and was originally intended for a 1,100MW CCGT power plant. The new facility was approved by the UK’s central government in early 1999. The H System was shipped to Baglan Bay in December 2000 and was constructed in the General Electric facility at Greenville, South Carolina. It started up in 2002, followed by characterisation testing through the summer of 2002 and field testing in November 2002. It went commercial shortly afterwards.
The Baglan Bay project was welcomed by the local authorities for the amount of regeneration and employment it brought to the area. It supplied hundreds of temporary jobs during construction as well as a number of permanent jobs for the longer term.