First fire approaching at Great Island CCGT

Construction works at SSE’s new €331m Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power plant at Great Island, County Wexford are fast approaching completion later this year, following the successful achievement of a number of landmarks over the first three months of 2014.

SSE currently has around 670 workers employed at the Great Island construction site, which is one of the largest infrastructural projects under construction on the island of Ireland. It is also the single largest capital project in power generation that SSE is currently developing in either the UK or Ireland.

The next major landmark towards the completion of the power plant of Ireland’s most efficient power station will be the ‘first fire’ of the 461MW CCGT, which is expected to take place in May. At ‘first fire’ the power plant’s new Mitsubishi CCGT powertrain will be put into operation for the first time.

During first fire, gas is combined with air and ignited through a combustion process to rotate a gas turbine.  The waste heat generated from this process is used to convert water into high pressure steam which is used to rotate a steam turbine.  Any residual steam is converted back into water and recycled through the system.  The two turbines combined are attached to a generator via a single shaft which generates the electricity that will be output.

Peter Gavican, SSE’s Project Manager for the Great Island CCGT project, said:

“We’re now approaching the next important stage on our project – ‘first fire’ of the new gas turbine which will take place in May. This is a huge achievement for everyone involved in the construction of Great Island. Moving towards ‘first fire’ follows a successful, on-schedule and on-budget construction period so far at Great Island.

“When it was first commissioned in 1967, the Great Island power station was Ireland’s premier power station and today at Great Island SSE is constructing what will once again be Ireland’s premier station when it is commissioned.”

The natural gas CCGT power plant is expected to become operational in late 2014 and will generate enough greener energy to power the equivalent of half a million Irish homes. When completed it will be Ireland’s cleanest, most efficient and reliable gas power plant on the Irish national grid.