Texas Utility Begins Use of Gas Turbine to Promote Decarbonization

(Credit: Mitsubishi Power Americas)

by | Jan 19, 2021

(Credit: Mitsubishi Power Americas)

El Paso Electric (EPE) is now using a gas turbine in an effort to promote clean energy and decarbonization. EPE is using Mitsubishi Power’s 228 megawatt (MW) Smart M501GAC enhanced-response (SmartER) gas turbine. This gas turbine will enable EPE to triple its renewable energy portfolio and reduce carbon emissions. The SmartER M501GAC complements renewable energy sources by starting up and shutting down rapidly to respond to customer energy usage and renewable energy variability.

The gas turbine will replace three units EPE has deemed less efficient and less reliable after more than 60 years in operation. In addition, the gas turbine is hydrogen ready for future deep decarbonization. New Mexico legislation is moving toward 100% carbon-free emissions by 2045.

EPE is also adding 200 MW of large-scale solar power and 50 MW of battery storage at the same time and is counting on the gas turbine’s rapid dispatch capability to respond to the intermittency of these renewables. The gas turbine’s quick startup and fast ramp rate will ensure grid stability and enable EPE to maximize power generation. The gas turbine combined with the renewable resources is expected to save 600 million gallons per year of water.

Mitsubishi Power’s technology will enable EPE to reduce emissions and support renewables immediately, while having equipment in place to implement green hydrogen as a form of long-duration energy storage as more renewables are added to the grid. The gas turbine is capable of operating on natural gas, or on a mixture of natural gas and up to 30 percent hydrogen for further decarbonization. The gas turbine can be configured in the future to operate on up to 100 percent hydrogen for zero-carbon emissions. EPE and Mitsubishi Power are exploring a joint development agreement in the coming months to create a green hydrogen infrastructure roadmap.

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