Electrical interconnections were typically by cable with multi-pin connectors (Pile National Plug or Canon). Control cabs were built in Salem, VA, so they were never tested with the gas turbine or generator until connected at the installation site for the first start-up. Below is a similar PPP installed at Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) in Ascutney, VT.
A few other packaged units, like the one shown above in Fig. 9-1 and 9-2 below, were sold and installed in such remote locations as Rutland, VT and Southampton, NY, the latter on the eastern tip of Long Island. And it’s a good thing they were, particularly the one in the Hamptons. That lonely 12 MW peaking and emergency plant has been credited with bringing back Long Island in New York after the Northeast Blackout of November, 1965.
The units in Rutland has been called upon to start at many other critical times when it has gotten hot in the summer. Yes, the Green Mountain State can get hot in July and August!
All these “old dogs” were available to run during preparations for the end of the millennium and the Y2K expectations of computer glitches taking down the power grids. This event never occurred, but the gas turbines were ready to perform, if needed. They are approaching 50 years of operation in 2011. The Southampton turbine is essentially “as built,” with virtually all its original controls and auxiliary systems. It still has the original controls and auxiliaries, including the fuel regulator. See Chapter 7 herein.
The MS5001D units in the early 1960s were rated at 11,250 KW at NEMA conditions (compressor inlet of 80 ºF at an elevation of 1000 feet, which relates to an ambient pressure of 14.17 psia).
As the decade of the sixties continued, only a few GE units were sold prior to the 1965 Blackout (an average of just 4 units per year). The MS5001 evolved to the model “K” by the time the lights went out in 1965, and were then rated at 14,000 KW when fired at 1500 ˚F. The so-called “L” and “LA” Frame 5 turbines came in the late 1960s. They were rated approximately 15,000 KW and fired at 1650 ºF. Many were dual fuel and they were often configured in two or four-unit power blocks (PB). In these cases, the starting means of at least one of the turbines was by diesel engine. If the control cabs were not “stand alone” and on the end of the accessory bases, the plants often “shared” many auxiliaries like batteries, CO-2 fire protection systems and fuel forwarding skids. For instance, at Buzzard Point in Washington, DC, there are four 4-unit blocks. They are configured in two rows of eight units and the two control cabs are in the center of the site and connected at both ends, allowing the operator to remain inside one structure to start all 16 units.
The packaged unit shown in Fig. 9-4 below was installed in Astoria-Queens, NY. Notice the elevated foundation because of its proximity to the East River at the ConEd (Now US Powergen) plant. This MS5001LA was rated at 15 MW at its sea level location.
Green Mountain Power installed a MS5001J plant in 1966 near a hydro plant in Winooski, VT. The 12 MW plant at The Gorge was (and likely still is) the only gas turbine in northern Vermont. Fig. 9-5 is viewed from above on the hill from the generator end.
Call it lucky or call it fortuitous. General Electric innovated the “black start” package power plant (PPP) concept in 1961 and brought it into production. The model “D” machines evolved to the “K” by the middle of the decade. Thus, GE had a good product when the Northeast Blackout hit in November 1965. If you believe in conspiracies, the Gas Turbine Department later evolved into a full GE company division. This kind of electric power producer became the product of choice for many utilities, refineries and gas pipelines in the decades that followed.
Could the Blackout have been caused on purpose? We doubt it, bu who knows? Read Chapter 10 about the day the lights went out and you decide. This posting will come in September 2011. That is, unless the power goes out!