New partnership enters illinois race to retire coal-power plants


Japanese utility J Power, through its US subsidiary, has partnered with Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems to reduce carbon emissions from energy generation in illinois.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems is supplying the utility with two M501JAC power trains for the 1,298MW Jackson Generation project in Elwwod.

Mitsubishi Hitachi is also providing its TOMONI very low load technology to enable the turbine to operate at less than 25% of full load while remianing emissions compliant.

The system will operate at a very low output during times when solar and wind generation is high and return to full operation when generation is low. This will result in reduced maintenance and operating costs.

The project will be one of the world’s most fuel efficient power plants with among the lowest carbon emissions of any combined cycle power plant in the world.

The project will result in consumers supplied with affordable energy and will create 500 construction and craft labor jobs during construction, and 35 permanent jobs once it enters commercial operation in 2022.

The project follows illinois reducing its carbon emissions from energy generation by 32% since 2001, due to retirement of coal-fired power plants and their replacement with a combination of natural gas and renewable power.

“We chose the MHPS M501JAC gas turbines for the Jackson Generation Project because MHPS has the best track record of any OEM for delivering fast, flexible, reliable and efficient power,” said Mark Condon, President and CEO of J-Power. “Additionally, the fuel flexibility of the J-Series combustion system allows our plant to use locally available, higher ethane content fuel, and significantly improve the project economics.”

“We were proud to sign contracts with J-Power in January and get their approval to release materials for manufacturing, and now we are able to announce the project to the region,” said Paul Browning, President and CEO of MHPS Americas. “Illinois has retired 35 coal-fired power plants with 3,938 MW of nameplate capacity since 2009 as they join other US States in replacing higher cost and higher carbon legacy power generation technology with modern natural gas and renewable power. These are the 62nd and 63rd J-Series gas turbines ordered globally, and the first to offer our patented Very Low Load technology. The Jackson Generation project will produce 65% less carbon dioxide than a legacy coal-fired power plant, and since it was designed to enable greater uptake of renewable power, the carbon reduction when combined with renewables can become even larger. That is a Change in Power.”

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.