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Wednesday, 8 June 2011

GE Combines Natural Gas, Wind, and Solar

Technology Review
June 7, 2011
GE has announced the first power plant to integrate wind and solar power with natural gas—a 530-megawatt plant that will start operating in Turkey in 2015. The power plant is made practicalby a flexible, high-efficiency natural-gas system the company announced two weeks ago and a solar thermal power system created by eSolar, a Burbank, California-based startup that GE recently invested in.

Such hybrid plants may become the dominant type of new power plant in some parts of the world, GE says. The new technology is aimed at countries that use 50 hertz electricity (the United States uses 60 hertz). In particular, it could make it easier for China and the European Union to meet their renewable energy targets.

Adding solar power to natural gas plants isn't a new idea, but it hasn't been economical without government subsidies. GE says that because of its new turbines and related equipment, these hybrid plants can, for utilities with the right combination of sunlight and natural gas prices, be competitive even without government support.


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