Flexible Gas Power Plant: 7F 7-series turbine
Company: General Electric
Price: $1,000 per megawatt
Solar and wind energy are clean but intermittent. To overcome that limitation, General Electric has come up with a way for power plants to quickly fire up natural gas when wind or solar energy isn’t available and dial it down again when it is. The key ingredient is a 30-foot-long gas turbine (pictured) with improved compression and combustion systems. These make it possible for the turbine to ramp up from 50 megawatts to its full capacity of 250 megawatts in 10 minutes while meeting emissions standards. Using this technology instead of running a coal plant would cut carbon dioxide emissions by 2.6 million metric tons per year, GE says. The company has received $1.2 billion worth of orders for these turbines from around the world.