Aeroderivatives take off at Colorado Springs and Biblis

30 April 2021

GE has received an order from community-owned Colorado Springs Utilities for six of its LM2500XPRESS aeroderivative gas turbine packages to help the utility bridge the gap and power the downtown area of Colorado Springs until a new transmission line is completed in 2025.

Above: New “grid stability plant” at Biblis. Former nuclear station visible to the right


GE has received an order from community-owned Colorado Springs Utilities for six of its LM2500XPRESS aeroderivative gas turbine packages to help the utility bridge the gap and power the downtown area of Colorado Springs until a new transmission line is completed in 2025.

In alignment with Colorado’s goals to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions from transport, electricity generation, and other sectors, Colorado Springs Utilities’ board has committed to retiring the coal-fired Martin Drake power plant by 31 December 2022 —12 years earlier than previously planned.

GE says its recently debuted LM2500XPRESS power plant technology will help Springs Utilities acquire the flexibility they need to bring more renewables onto the system and move forward with the retirement of Martin Drake.

The LM2500XPRESS units, 34 MW each, will be the first to be installed in North America and are expected to start commercial operation by the summer of 2022. They are designed for ease of transport, on trailers, and will eventually be relocated to other sites in the Colorado Springs area.

The LM2500XPRESS power generating units are 95% factory assembled into simplified modules and provide a “plug and play” concept with installation in less than three weeks, says GE. Each power block comprises a GE LM2500 aeroderivative gas turbine modular package, gas compressor and emissions control system. In addition, a black start diesel generator is included to provide start-up capability in case of grid faults.

The units provide dual-fuel capability, primarily burning natural gas, but able to run on liquid fuels if necessary.

They employ a dry low emissions (DLE) combustion system, minimising water use, and an oxidation catalyst.


Above: LM2500XPRESS


In December GE announced its first order for a power plant using LM2500XPRESS technology, an eleven-unit 300 MW grid reserve facility to be supplied to RWE for installation at its Biblis site. RWE Generation had been previously awarded the contract to build and operate the Biblis gas fired grid reserve plant by transmission system operator Amprion.

The new plant, to be built in a former car park just south of the decommissioned and fuel-free Biblis nuclear power station, will not be available to the open electricity marketplace; instead, it will only be operated as required by system operators to “help ensure grid stability with high efficiency.”

The new natural gas fuelled plant is expected to enter service in late 2022.

Germany is generating record amounts of renewable energy in the north, but its grid is challenged to transport all the power down to load centres in the south and it repeatedly faces critical situations, with imports arranged at short notice from surrounding countries, for example, required to stabilise the grid.

“Grid stability plants”, such as that being installed at Biblis, are seen as one of the building blocks towards overcoming this challenge.

“We are delighted that we were awarded the contract for the Biblis site. The excellent existing infrastructure there and our reliable and flexible concept for the plant have won out. We will thus be able to make an important contribution towards security of supply in Southern Hesse,” said Roger Miesen, CEO of RWE Generation. “We have a long-standing relationship with GE and we’re proud to work together to install the world’s first LM2500XPRESS.”

“The rapidly progressing energy transition presents system operators and energy suppliers with the increasingly difficult task of continuously ensuring stability of the grid”, said Aman Joshi, senior global sales director for the aeroderivative business at GE Gas Power. “GE continues to invest in new technologies, such as the LM2500XPRESS power plant, as we consider renewables and gas power complementary. The combination of five-minute fast start with cycling and load following capabilities is ideal to help support grid stability and we’re excited to bring it to Biblis to help RWE to provide a reliable supply of energy.”

The LM2500XPRESS units for the Biblis project will be manufactured at GE Gas Power’s Manufacturing Excellence Center, Veresegyhaz, Hungary.

The LM2500XPRESS builds on GE’s proven LM2500 aeroderivative gas turbine technology, with more than 2500 units sold and over 97 million operating hours amassed.

For plant operators who need power in just days, the LM2500XPRESS can be installed in as little as two weeks with a minimal crew. It’s available in both simple and combined cycle configuration, for both 50 and 60 Hz applications. In simple cycle, power rating is 34 MW and efficiency up to 39.5%, in combined cycle the capacity is up to 47 MW efficiency up to 54.4%.

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