GE announced that they start a new plant in Turkey by the year 2015, that is going to be a breakthrough that will solve the problem of the sudden drops of the renewable energy sources. The new idea lies in combining between natural gas, the solar energy and wind energy to produce electricity.
The power plant will be a novelty in several respects. The first is that it will use GE’s new “FlexEfficiency” gas turbine, which is essentially a jet engine that produces power by both turning a generator and by capturing the heat from the exhaust and using it to make steam. The second is that it will also add solar energy to the mix by utilizing technology from eSolar; which is also unique. Instead of converting sunlight to electricity, mirrors are used to direct sunlight to a boiler that sits atop a tower; the steam that is produced is then directed to the plant to combine with the steam produced from the back end of the gas generator. The third element is the introduction of wind power to the system using traditional wind generators situated just next to the rest of the plant to funnel power to the plant, which can be used directly by the plant, or fed into the grid.
Such hybrid plants may become the dominant type of new power plant in some parts of the world, GE says. The new technology is aimed at countries that use 50 hertz electricity (the United States uses 60 hertz). In particular, it could make it easier for China and the European Union to meet their renewable energy targets.
Adding solar power to natural gas plants isn’t a new idea, but it hasn’t been economical without government subsidies. GE says that because of its new turbines and related equipment, these hybrid plants can, for utilities with the right combination of sunlight and natural gas prices, be competitive even without government support.