Nominally rated 350 MW peaking facility began commercial operation in June 2019 to provide the New England grid with critically needed peaking and renewables back-up generating capacity.
Development and turnkey construction of the plant is unofficially valued by local sources at an estimated $280 million.
NRG Energy, the plant’s original owner, built the natural gas-fired plant in late 2017 before its acquisition in June 2018 by the investment firm Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners.
Final construction of the Canal 3 Generating Station plant (Canal 3 Generation LLC) in Sandwich, Massachusetts was completed as a joint venture project by Burns & McDonnell and Skanska USA Civil. It is built on a 12-acre site adjacent to an existing, affiliated two-unit power generation facility.
Documents on file with the Cape Cod Commission seeking project permission in late 2016 describe the proposed plant as a peaking unit designed around a simple cycle gas turbine (7HA.02) with a net nominal electrical output of approximately 350 MW which would also provide back-up power for renewables generation.
Further, that the plant would incorporate state of art emissions control technologies, including selective catalytic reduction and oxidation catalyst systems, a near-zero liquid discharge design to reduce water demand, and a comprehensive set of noise attenuation measures.
There is reason to believe that the nominal net 350 MW rating may be rather conservative. In 2017-18, the simple cycle 7HA.02 gas turbine genset was ISO rated at 372 MW gross baseload output with an LHV heat rate of 8020 Btu/kWh heat rate (42.5% efficiency) on natural gas fuel.
“Canal 3 is a great example of how new advanced-class gas turbine technology can provide very economical grid support with industry-leading fast start capability to reach full load in under 10 minutes,” says Rick Halil, president of the Energy Group at Burns & McDonnell.
In addition, the 7HA.02 has a 50 MW per minute ramping capability, up or down, within emissions compliance. It can operate at turndown power levels as low as 25% of gas turbine baseload output.
The plant will burn natural gas as its primary fuel source but can switch to ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel if needed.