Transmission, Distribution Key for Successful Power Projects
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Transmission, Distribution Key for Successful Power Projects

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Marco Vera - GE Gas Power
CEO Mexico


Q: How is the company structured and what changes are coming up? 

A: GE is divided into three areas: GE Aerospace, GE Healthcare and GE Vernova. The first division oversees designs for the aerospace industry, the second is dedicated to creating optimal solutions for the healthcare industry and the third, of which GE Gas Power is a part, is in charge of the company’s power production, transmission and distribution businesses.

GE has existed for 128 years and has been operating for 126 years in Mexico, establishing a long tradition of doing business here. Soon, GE’s three divisions will be separated into three independent entities. The first division to become a single business unit, starting in January 2023, will be GE Healthcare. The other two divisions, GE Aerospace and GE Vernova, will become independent in February 2024. All three will keep the GE name.

GE Vernova will feature different divisions like GE Renewables, which will be focused on wind turbines. There will also be an offshore division and GE Grid to provide solutions for everything surrounding transmission and distribution. 

Q: How do GE Gas Power’s products and solutions help energy become more reliable, accessible and sustainable?

A: The company’s mission is to continue facilitating energy projects and to help its customers to achieve the most reliable and affordable electricity. We have two main product lines: On one side, we have heavy-duty gas turbines and, on the other, aeroderivative gas turbines. The former were designed several decades ago and have been among the most reliable sources of electricity in the world. They can be used to burn a huge range of fuels. Now, aeroderivative engines are being used to power airplanes. Nonetheless, they are also designed to move a generator for power production. In addition, these gas turbines not only burn natural gas and several mixtures of gas but they also handle liquid fuel and cleaner diesel.

Furthermore, within the heavy-duty portfolio, GE has turbines that range from approximately 40MW to 134MW per turbine, which is useful for Mexico’s 60Hz grid frequency. We help our customers to produce energy in large quantities so they can power industries and even cities. The aeroderivative portfolio can produce between 30MW and 100MW. Depending on the type of project and the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) analysis that we carry out, we will provide our client with the optimal solution.  

Q: How do GE Gas turbines adapt to increasing mixtures of green hydrogen to reduce CO2 emissions in operations?

A: The company is fully dedicated to helping its clients reduce their carbon footprint. Hydrogen is not new to us; the company has been burning hydrogen in different gas turbines for approximately 30 years and has the finest combustion system to handle hydrogen. Nevertheless, we are still learning and developing different combustion systems to up the amount of hydrogen that can be blended in.

Q: What development plans do you have regarding green hydrogen in Mexico? 

A: In Mexico, we have been unable to find someone to take the first step, and even in the US, the biggest economy in the world, it was challenging to bring the hydrogen required to fire 5 percent of the engine.

When the time is right and customers in Mexico start looking at hydrogen, we will be able to offer the ideal solutions. Our gas turbines can handle exceptionally large amounts of hydrogen. We expect this technology to take off soon enough since hydrogen is the most abundant element in the world. 

Q: What role will natural gas play in the energy transition? 

A: Natural gas will be imperative as it is the key transition fuel. It will continue to be the most reliable source of electricity production. Moving from coal or heavy crude oil to natural gas will be the way to go to decarbonize sustainably. We have seen this shift happening in many other countries in the world and it should continue in Mexico. Natural gas is an abundant fuel and Mexico is privileged to be part of the North American region, which has a great deal of accessible resources available.

In the future, it will make sense to continue using hydrogen in a blend with natural gas, which will benefit the environment by reducing the carbon footprint.

Q: How can Mexico improve its efficiency in power production through natural gas?

A: Mexico will need to keep taking advantage of the surplus of gas that exists in the US and it should remain the most important destination for the US to sell its gas. This way, Mexico can access a steady surplus of natural gas at competitive pricing to be used in conjunction with renewable energy projects. The result is stable electricity combined with clean and competitive energy sources like wind and solar. In addition, Mexico should continue to build and invest in large power generation projects via combined cycle plants.

Another essential issue is the transmission and distribution of electricity. One cannot create and develop standalone power plants without creating reliable transmission and distribution networks. This is paramount if Mexico’s industry wants to remain competitive and grow.

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