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The Bethlehem Energy Center is a state-of-the-art, combined-cycle power plant fueled primarily by natural gas. Calpine acquired the facility in 2010 as part of its purchase of the Conectiv Energy assets.
Built in 2002-03, the plant consists of two power blocks. Each block consists of three combustion turbine-generator sets, three heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs) and a steam turbine generator. Steam leaving the HRSGs feeds one steam-turbine generator in each block. The combustion turbines, which primarily burn natural gas, can also run on low-sulfur diesel fuel oil. When combined, these two power cycles (the gas turbine and the boiler/steam turbine) create a highly fuel-efficient plant that consumes significantly less fuel than needed by a traditional fossil-fired boiler/steam turbine generator plant.
In addition to being fuel efficient, the combined-cycle plant also has an attractive environmental footprint. Because the fuels are low in sulfur, the plant emits only trace amounts of sulfates. Using low NOx burners, water injection, selective catalytic reduction and premium fuels, NOx emissions are held to very low levels compared to other fossil-fired generation. Combustion turbines have extremely high combustion efficiency, so volatile organic emissions and carbon monoxide levels are almost nondetectable.