GDF Suez, Alstom sign long-term contract for power plant services

GDF Suez Energy North America has awarded a $480 million, long-term contract to Alstom to provide comprehensive maintenance and gas turbine upgrades to natural gas-fired power stations in Texas and Massachusetts.

The contract covers the Midlothian and Hays plants in Texas and the Bellingham and Blackstone power plants in Massachusetts and includes management and providing replacement parts, technical field advisors and gas turbine services for the 14 power generating units, according to the companies.

The first upgrade installation is scheduled for fall 2014.

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Alstom, which is based in France, said it will upgrade the turbines to allow plant operators to switch between operating modes based on electricity market demand without taking the plant offline.

That could be especially important in states like Texas, where hot summer days can push the grid to the limit and strain generators’ capacity.

“Alstom has invested heavily in advancing its natural gas power generating technologies to better meet the long-term needs of its customers,” Hans-Peter Meer, senior vice president of Alstom’s thermal services business, said in a written statement. “For GDF Suez Energy North America, those investments will translate into bottom-line benefits once the upgraded fleet is performing to the new standard in operational flexibility.”