General Electric on Thursday reported problems with one of its most advanced gas turbine engines.
A GE 7HA turbine operated by Exelon at its Colorado Bend plant in Texas experienced an "oxidation issue" that required the unit to be shut down.
GE expects other 7HA machines will be affected by the same problems, a spokesman told Utility Dive. GE’s stock fell 3.4% after the turbine troubles were reported, leaving shares just above a nine-year low of $12.22.
GE is trying to shore up its flagging power division by responding to market needs for quick-ramping, high-efficiency machines. One of its top turbines in that line, the 7HA, is now experiencing problems.
An "oxidation issue" could cause distress on blade components of the HA gas turbine, a problem serious enough to cause Exelon to shut down the affected unit, as well as three other units as a cautionary measure, Reuters reported. The issue was originally discovered during planned outages. Another 10 7HA units remain in operation in the U.S.
Worldwide, GE received 82 orders for the 7HA and shipped 51 of the machines, 30 of which have been installed since the first one entered service in France in 2016.
"We have identified the solution and have a plan in place, and we have been proactively working with customers on a case-by-case basis to address any impacted unit," GE spokesman Christopher Shigas told Utility Dive via email. "We expect the Exelon unit to return to service soon."
GE could end up having to compensate customers or making expensive design changes if the problem continues. GE is already struggling and its power division is facing an uncertain future in the face of flat power demand and a switch to renewable generation.
"There is an expectation that minor adjustments will be made along the way with any new technology, and we believe the adjustments we’re currently making will make the best turbine on the market even better," Shigas said.
The 7HA recently set a Guinness record for efficiency when a turbine installed in Japan clocked a rating of just over 63% in combined cycle mode.