At the start of this new century, environmental regulations and free-market economics are becoming the key drivers for the electricity generating industry. Advances in Gas Turbine (GT) technology, allied with integration and refinement of Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSG) and Steam Turbine (ST) plant, have made Combined Cycle installations the most efficient of the new power station types. This potential can also be realized, to equal effect, by adding GT’s and HRSG’s to existing conventional steam power plants in a so-called ‘repowering’ process. This paper presents the economical and environmental considerations of retrofitting the steam turbine within repowering schemes. Changing the thermal cycle parameters of the plant, for example by deletion of the feed heating steambleeds or by modified live and reheat steam conditions to suit the combined cycle process, can result in off-design operation of the existing steam turbine. Retrofitting the steam turbine to match the combined cycle unit can significantly increase the overall cycle efficiency compared to repowering without the ST upgrade. The paper illustrates that repowering, including ST retrofitting, when considered as a whole at the project planning stage, has the potential for greater gain by allowing proper plant optimization. Much of the repowering in the past has been carried out without due regard to the benefits of re-matching the steam turbine. Retrospective ST upgrade of such cases can still give benefit to the plant owner, especially when it is realized that most repowering to date has retained an unmodified steam turbine (that first went into operation some decades before). The old equipment will have suffered deterioration due to aging and the steam path will be to an archaic design of poor efficiency. Retrofitting older generation plant with modern leading-edge steam-path technology has the potential for realizing those substantial advances made over the last 20 to 30 years. Some examples, given in the paper, of successfully retrofitted steam turbines applied in repowered plants will show, by specific solution, the optimization of the economics and benefit to the environment of the converted plant as a whole.

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