Located on a narrow strip of land bookended by the sea on one side and desert on the other, Israel, like many countries, is raising an alarm about climate change. Rising sea levels and frequent droughts, floods, storms and other extreme weather events “threaten to have a major effect on the water sector, agriculture, public health, biodiversity, the coastal environment and the urban environment in addition to their geostrategic effects and environmental and social impacts,” according to the Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection. No wonder the country is taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint.
Israel’s largest power producer, Israel Electric Corp. (IEC), for example, said Tuesday it would replace a pair of aging coal-fired plants with two combined-cycle power plants using GE’s most advanced gas turbines and other technology from the company. IEC and GE have already completed the order for the first new power plant, valued at 1 billion shekels (about $280 million). GE expects to receive the contract for the second unit by the end of 2019.
Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s minister of energy, hailed the agreement as “an important step” in reducing the country’s reliance on coal and replacing it with gas and renewables.
The plants will be located halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa, near the coastal city of Hadera. They will be capable of producing a combined 1,260 megawatts by utilizing a combined-cycle design, which harvests the heat from the gas turbines to power a steam turbine and squeeze out extra electricity. When the first plant comes online in 2022, it will be Israel’s largest and most efficient gas power plant, capable of matching of up to 4% of Israel’s current total power generation capacity.
IEC director Yiftah Ron-Tal called the project a “technological leap.” He said that “above the efficiency and the optimal use of the new units, due to the use of natural gas, the air will be much cleaner, as part of the IEC’s policy to do as much as possible for the quality of life and for the environment.”
The beating heart of the new plants will be GE’s 9HA heavy-duty gas turbines, the same model that operates inside the world’s most efficient combined cycle power plant, which produces alternating current that oscillates at 50 Hz per second. That power station, located in France, converted 62.22% fuel energy into electricity in 2016. A Japanese power plant using using GE’s 7HA version of the turbine designed for 60Hz grids secured a second efficiency record in 2018.
GE’s HA gas turbines have accumulated more than 270,000 operating hours since their launch in 2016, and the company has received more than 85 orders from over 35 customers in 16-plus countries including the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Taiwan. “By investing in state-of-the-art technology to transform its infrastructure, IEC will ensure that power is more reliably and sustainably delivered to its customers in Israel,” said Scott Strazik, president and CEO of GE’s proposed Gas Power division, which the company is currently creating within its GE Power business.
The deal announced on Tuesday also includes a GE steam turbine, generator, one heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) and a 15-year service agreement. Separately, IEC will use GE’s electrical grid technology to modernize its power distribution. The technology, Advanced Distribution Management Solutions (ADMS), is a suite of industrial software that includes adaptive algorithms and predictive analytics designed to help utilities operate the grid more efficiently and enable automation.