Tuesday morning the ground was officially broken for the Oakley Generating Station (OGS) on a nearly 22 acre site on the DuPont property. The 614-megawatt, natural gas-fired facility is schedule for completion in the summer of 2014. The project will serve the equivalent of approximately 600,000 households.
The OGS will take advantage of the latest technological innovations featuring GE’s current version of the 7FA Gas Turbine. The newest turbine features include an improved efficiency and higher output that will result in less fuel consumption and lower emissions on a MW-hr. basis. A typical power plant operating two new 7FA gas turbines with a single steam turbine — using what’s known as a “combined cycle configuration” — would save more than $2.1 million per year at a natural gas price of $6 per million British thermal units when compared to an earlier version of the 7FA.
The new turbine will also mix well with renewable energy (wind and solar). Although the plant will operate 24 x 7 it will follow the ebb and flow of power supplied from wind and solar. A persistent problem with wind and solar is that it is intermittent. During periods of low renewable energy generation the natural gas turbines can fire up rapidly reaching 75% or more of peak output within 10 minutes of being switched on and provide the power needed when renewables fall short.
The construction project is expected to create 700 union jobs during construction. These jobs could provide a boon to local stores, hotels, restaurants and other merchants to help through these tuff economic times. When completed the facility will be staffed with 20 employees. The project will also help create jobs nationwide – the turbines are American made.