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1n 2003, Premier Power Ltd completed the construction of a new 600 megawatt CCGT (Combined Cycle Gas Turbine). The power station was constructed on a 'brown field' site adjacent to the existing station making full use of the existing infrastructure, including natural gas supply and on-site electricity distribution facilities.

1n 2003, Premier Power Ltd completed the construction of a new 600 megawatt CCGT (Combined Cycle

On completion and commissioning of above plant the three 120 MW steam turbines in the existing station were de-commissioned. The remaining units in the existing thermal station have been kept operational for the competitive market place.

CCGT technology offers lower cost and the least environmentally damaging form of fossil-fuelled electricity generation. It has significantly higher efficiency giving 40% more electricity from the same amount of gas.

CCGT Process

The CCGT process utilises rotational energy produced from single or multiple gas turbines driving AC generators in conjunction with the additional power made available from the waste heat contained in the gas turbine(s) exhaust.

The heat is passed through a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG), one for each gas turbine, and the steam generated is used to produce rotational energy in a steam turbine, which also drives an AC generator. The steam turbine configuration can be either one taking the steam produced from 2 or 3 waste heat recovery units (multi-shaft) or one for each waste heat recovery unit (single shaft).

The first phase of the process takes place in the gas turbine, which can burn either gas or liquid fuel. Each gas turbine is coupled to an AC generator that generates electricity as it is rotated by the turbine. After the fuel is burnt and passes through the gas turbine, the hot gases formed by the mixture of fuel and air enter a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) wherein steam is produced to power a steam turbine. This in turn imparts rotational energy to the steam turbine which is connected to an AC generator and which also generates electricity as it is rotated by the turbine.

The second phase, which utilises the additional heat remaining in the gas turbine exhaust and gives

The second phase, which utilises the additional heat remaining in the gas turbine exhaust and gives rise to the term 'combined cycle' in conjunction with gas turbines (CCGT), results in cycle thermal efficiencies of over 50% when used with the most recent gas turbine technology.

For the CCGT, plant thermal efficiency is 54% which is significantly higher than the levels, around 33%, which are currently achieved with the older 'B' station.

It is however possible to directly exhaust the heat from the gas turbine through a bypass stack to the atmosphere, this mode of operation is known as 'open cycle' and results in plant thermal efficiency of around 35% for the gas turbines to be selected for the CCGT.

The use of bypass stacks is however normally limited to operational conditions which occur when either the steam turbine or waste heat recovery unit is off line due to problems or for maintenance purposes and short term operation at lower plant efficiency is required. The gas turbines burn natural gas as the primary fuel but will also operate on low sulphur distillate liquid fuel if the gas fuel supply is interrupted. When operating on liquid fuel the gas turbine emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) are controlled to meet environmental legislation requirements by injecting water or steam into the fuel combustion process to lower the flame temperature. No liquid injection is required for NOx suppression when operating on gas fuel. The electricity which is generated at 15 and 18kV medium voltage will be increased to a higher 275/110kV level by step up transformers to match the Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) transmission system requirements. This high voltage electricity is transferred by underground cables to existing outgoing feeder connections in an adjacent NIE switch-house and then through the transmission system to the electricity users. The medium voltage is also stepped down to lower voltage levels to provide plant auxiliary power supplies and hence provide a self contained plant capability when operating. Steam, as it exhausts from each steam turbine, is condensed in a condenser by the use of cooling water. This condensed steam is returned to the steam generator by pumps to complete the continuous process, it is replenished as required from a make up system to allow for losses. The water for cooling is provided by a once-through system using brackish water extracted from and returned to Larne Lough adjacent to the plant site. The water is returned to the Lough at a quality level and temperature limit to meet environmental legislation requirements.

Water for make-up to the steam cycle and plant needs is provided from a desalination plant, which will also extract water from the Lough. This raw water is further treated to provide the steam cycle and plant quality requirements and stored in tanks on the site.

Liquid effluent, which is discharged from site into the cooling water discharge, is monitored and treated to ensure that all waste meets statutory legislation requirements.

The layout and design of the plant utilises proven combine cycle technology and take into full consideration environmental impacts, in particular noise, safety, emissions and visual appearance. All equipment used in the plant is state of the art proven technology in the power generation industry.