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Floating Power Plants to Support New York's Renewable Energy Strategy

Sept. 18, 2019
SeaFloat to provide reliable peaking power for New York City's renewable ambitions, boosting power generating efficiency by nearly 50%.

Astoria Generating Co. and Siemens signed a contract for the turnkey construction of two SeaFloat power barges to be equipped with eight Siemens SGT-A65 gas turbines. The barges will replace four existing power barges located at Gowanus Generating Station in the Upper Bay of Brooklyn, New York City, resulting in cleaner, more efficient energy production. Siemens will preinstall the high-efficiency power generating facilities on two newly constructed floating barges with a generation capacity of about 300 MW each. Retrofitting the station with SGT-A65 gas turbines and generators will improve the plants' power generating efficiency by nearly 50% while significantly reducing potential emissions of pollutants like carbon dioxide and monoxide all while using the existing gas infrastructure.

New York's Demanding Energy Market

As New York's energy market changes, transitioning to more intermittent energy sources, New York City needs to maintain the reliability of its power supply while reducing potential emissions. The city with more than 8.5 million inhabitants is moving to obtain 70% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. When solar and wind power can't meet the need, quick-start peaking units like the Gowanus Generating Station will become even more important, especially in congested areas like Southwest Brooklyn. The new units will provide that reliability while reducing emissions and offering the flexibility to move the barges as needed.

The four-barge Gowanus Station, with a current generation capacity of 640 MW, was originally installed in the early 1970s and is approaching the end of its service life. By replacing these barges with two modern floating power barges provided by Siemens, Astoria Generating Co. will be able to retire the existing barges reducing the total number of barges from four to two and also retire two barges at the nearby Narrows Generating Station. Siemens will deliver eight SGT-A65 gas turbine generating sets four on each barge along with a Siemens control system. The turbines will run on natural gas as their primary fuel.

Each SGT-A65 (Industrial Trent 60) aeroderivative gas turbine will deliver up to 76 MW for the Astoria project in simple cycle service at 41.8% efficiency. With its fast cold-start capability and high cyclic life, these engines can rapidly add power to the grid to compensate for fluctuating and variable renewable and other energy sources, making it an ideal solution for peaking markets. More than 115 of the SGT-A65 gas turbines have been sold worldwide with more than 1.8 million fleet hours of experience.

Siemens and Astoria also signed a contract for a 20-year long-term service agreement that will help support the gas turbines' and generators' optimal operating efficiency. The contract includes service on parts, repairs, field services, program management, and offerings from Siemens' Omnivise Digital Services portfolio, including remote monitoring and diagnostics.

"As a holistic solution, the new SeaFloat power barges will help reduce potential emissions in New York City and provide a reliable power supply by helping keep the local grid stable," said Karim Amin, CEO of power generation at Siemens Gas and Power. "SeaFloat combines the advantages of our high-quality proven power plant technology with the mobility and flexibility that's required in peak consumption periods."

"As New York's energy market changes to rely on intermittent power sources like wind and solar, we need to ensure reliability. These state-of-the-art units will provide the quick-start energy production New Yorkers need while reducing potential emissions. And best of all, because they're on barges, they provide the needed climate adaptation, adjusting to sea-level rise and increased storm surges, and also can be moved if the power is needed elsewhere," said Mark Sudbey, CEO of Astoria Generating Co.

SeaFloat Solutions

Variations of the SeaFloat power plants can be used as base load or emergency backup for existing power plants during peak loads or outages and to provide a fast power supply in the event of a humanitarian disaster. SeaFloat power plants can even be supplemented with a desalination plant to provide clean potable water that helps prevent disease. A wide range of gas turbine frames and combined cycle configurations are available so that an appropriate solution that meets specific requirements can be developed with customers.

The Siemens SeaFloat power plants use the company's reliable equipment that has been adapted for application on floating devices. SeaFloat power plants can be moved to any site that's accessible by sea or major rivers and require almost no investment for land acquisition.

SeaFloat has been designed to be as small as possible, and it's defined a new standard in power density. Because the plants' construction and a large portion of commissioning are performed using standardized equipment under strictly controlled conditions in the world's leading shipyards, a short lead time can be realized. Construction of the plant also doesn't interfere with any required onshore infrastructure like the installation of substations, transmission lines, and access roads. This allows for a significant reduction in the total time required for these kinds of infrastructure projects.

Typical applications include the power supply for remote areas like islands, the development of industrial areas on shorelines or major rivers (for example, chemical, and desalination plants), and brownfield applications.

For further information on SeaFloat power plants, visit here.

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