As the Japanese electricity segment booms with liberalization dynamics and ongoing deregulation, but faces a decline in power demand, a stable power supply is the number one priority for energy players in the country. As an independent power producer (IPP), JFE Steel Corporation (JFE)—faced with aging energy infrastructure—turned to GE’s Power Services business to help modernize, increase output and improve operational flexibility at its Chiba combined-cycle power plant.
“In Japan, the recent deregulation of the electric power industry is causing a shift in the energy landscape,” said Satoshi Ogino, manager, Energy Technology Section, Energy Department, East Japan Works, JFE. The industry competition is intense, with a lower barrier of entry for new power generation players. To sustain competitiveness, existing power generation operators with long standing histories, like JFE, are constantly looking at adopting modernized power plant solutions and services, ensuring energy security and optimized plant operation. GE is the best partner to work with collaboratively for the operation and maintenance (O&M) of the power plant and to expand the business opportunity for JFE.”
GE’s modernization efforts consisted of a MXL2 gas turbine upgrade, a low-pressure steam turbine retrofit and a new lifetime management concept on the GT26 gas turbine. These upgrades are expected to increase the output of the gas turbine by up to 60 megawatts. In addition, they will help improve operational flexibility for JFE and extend maintenance intervals of the turbine.
As part of a multiyear agreement (MYA) signed by the two companies, GE will also provide O&M support at the facility for the next 15 years, and a small number of GE personnel will be on-site to assist and provide consultation to JFE on its plant operations.
“At GE, we strive to provide solutions to the industry’s and our customers’ toughest challenges,” said Yoshimune Nihei, general manager, Asia Pacific region, GE’s Power Services business. “Working with JFE, we implemented our Fleet360 total plant solutions to help improve operations at the Chiba facility in a way that balances cost and capabilities and best aligns with JFE’s needs and future strategy. In addition, our 15-year O&M agreement further strengthens what is already an established, long-standing relationship with JFE. Together, we can help provide the reliable, available power needed in the region.”
This project is the first for GE in Japan that exploits its full capacity stemming from its acquisition of Alstom’s power business in 2015. GE delivered a full turnkey project to upgrade the entire power station as a fruitful result of its expanded capabilities. The modernizations included gas turbine, boiler and balance of plant—under comprehensive project management, from process management to restarting the plant within the required designated downtime period.
The 15-year agreement represents the latest in a string of recent O&M projects for GE—from its deals with Sarawak Energy and SPR Energy in Malaysia to its landmark agreement with Sonelgaz in Algeria. The company’s Fleet360 platform enables it to provide cross-fleet, total plant solutions such as services, upgrades, repairs, parts, multiyear agreements, O&M and digital solutions to help improve the performance and operation of both GE and other original equipment manufacturer (OEM) assets. Bolstered by the company’s acquisition of Alstom’s power business, GE’s Fleet360 offerings enable it to support more than 90 OEM brands of gas and steam turbines, generators, boilers and other balance-of-plant equipment.