Siemens wins extended contract for California solar power plant

Siemens Energy has received an order for an instrumentation & controls (I&C) system and two steam turbine-generators for the Ivanpah solar thermal power plant in the Mojave desert in California, extending an initial order made two years ago.

BrightSource Energy Inc., a developer of utility-scale solar thermal power plants headquartered in Oakland, California, has now ordered Siemens’ SPPA-T3000 for all three units of the Ivanpah project with a combined installed capacity of approximately 400 megawatts (MW).

In October 2008, Siemens received an order for the supply of a steam turbine and generator for Ivanpah Unit 1. For Ivanpah Units 2 and 3 the company will now also supply two steam turbines and two generators. The start of commercial operation of the Ivanpah Units 2 and 3 is scheduled for 2013.

The plant's capacity will be sufficient to supply approximately 140,000 households with clean power and is expected to reduce annual CO2 emissions by more than 400,000 tons.

Siemens will equip the first 126-MW unit and the 133-MW Units 2 and 3 with the system, which already has a very good track record in fossil-fueled power plants.

This order marks the first deployment of the SPPA-T3000 in a large solar tower power plant.

"BrightSource Energy opted for our I&Csystem because it covers both the steam turbine and the balance of plant,” said Karlheinz Springer, CEO Instrumentation, Controls & Electrical at Siemens Energy. We're pleased that we can extend our long-term success and global track record to now serve the solar thermal market with our SPPA-T3000 I&C."

The SST-900 turbine is known for its fast startup and shutdown capability, and the fact that it can flexibly track the respective operating conditions of solar thermal power plants. Steam reheat enhances the efficiency of the turbine and thus of the entire power plant. The two turbines for Ivanpah 2 and 3 will be delivered in the summer of 2012.

Solar tower technology enables the bundling of sunlight by sun-tracking mirrors, which is directly reflected onto a receiver at the top of a tower where steam is produced to drive a steam turbine that will ultimately generate electricity.