SoCal Edison debuts world’s first half electric, half gas turbine system

NORWALK – Southern California Edison on Monday unveiled the world's first battery-gas turbine hybrid system, which the company says will increase the use of solar, wind and other renewable resources.

“The new system will help SCE better utilize the resources on the grid, provide enhanced reliability, reduce environmental impact and reduce cost for our operations and for our customers,'' SCE President Ron Nichols said. “This technology also allows us to continue to expand our use of solar, wind and other renewable resources.”

The LM6000 Hybrid Electric Gas Turbine is described as a groundbreaking control system that blends output between the battery and the gas turbine.

The energy storage capacity of the battery is designed to provide enough time to allow the gas turbine to start and reach its designated power output.

As a result, the system does not need to burn fuel and consume water in standby mode to be able to dispatch power immediately when demand surges, according to officials at both SCE and General Electric.

“The community is better off … and the customers are better off,” said Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board chair, extolling the environmental benefits of the hybrid gas turbine system. “I can’t think of anything that’s not to like about this.”

The system was developed in response to the commitment of California elected officials to draw 50 percent of the state's electricity from renewable sources by 2030. The Hybrid EGT helps balance variable energy supply and demand, including during evening hours when the sun sets and solar power production falls while electricity usage surges as customers return home and turn on lights and appliances.

“As the electrical grid network continues to evolve, with more intermittent renewables being added every day, products like the Hybrid EGT can help smooth out the delivery of electricity,” said Reinaldo Garcia, president and CEO of Grid Solutions for GE Energy Connections.

“Storage and the ability to quickly push power to the grid also play a key role in emergency situations, dispatching energy immediately to the grid ensuring that we are able help keep the lights on for everyone.”

Company officials said the system, along with new emission controls, provides enhanced flexibility while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution by 60 percent. In addition, demineralized water consumption will be reduced by about 45 percent, saving two million gallons of water annually and increasing the life of the equipment.

“We worked with SCE to address a very specific need, but this solution has applications that go far beyond,” said Paul McElhinney, president & CEO of GE Power Services. “We look forward to working with customers to develop tailor-made solutions that will allow them greater flexibility when incorporating renewable energy and other quick power needs.”

SCE is now looking to add the Hybrid Enhanced Gas Turbine systems at three other existing peaker plants.

“We are watching the future unfold right before our eyes,” said Norwalk Mayor Luigi Vernola. “This is something fantastic to look forward to. This is the future for California, Norwalk and the world.”