This report explains the growth of advanced technology combustion turbines (CTs) installed and operated in North America. It tracks the growth of the industry since 1985 and the changes that have occurred. While the report concentrates on operation and maintenance issues (O&M) associated with these CTs, other issues, such as the impact of high natural gas prices on the O&M costs, are discussed. It is noted that these advanced turbines can generate power at efficiencies approaching 60% (LHV Basis) when used in combined-cycle operation, while complying with federal, state and local environmental laws. The higher efficiencies require higher firing temperatures, which in turn, require complex and expensive airfoils in the turbine, contributing almost 50% to the O&M costs of the project. Operation of the units in a cyclic mode can drastically lower the life of the complex parts, thereby increasing O&M costs. Operation of fuel other than natural gas (i.e., oil) can also have an effect on O&M costs, even though the price of oil is comparatively lower at the time of this writing. Long Term Service Agreements (LTSAs) can add to the cost of maintenance, but are employed to ensure a steady supply of much needed replacement parts. Service vendors (non-OEM) are beginning to make spare parts for these turbines, so the question of whether to sign LTSAs becomes more difficult, based solely on cost comparisons. The future of these advanced machines is beginning to look uncertain, as unpredictable fuel price increases may dictate that other means of power generation (i.e., coal) provide the desired product at competitive prices.
Combustion turbines, operation and maintenance, Long Term Service Agreements, environmental concerns, safety, insurance, training.