May 30, 2019
5 min read

Power Plant Upgrades in Colombia

Teaching an old plant new tricks. Celsia is once again providing reliable and sustainable energy for the City of Barranquilla.

Redefining performance to generate more power and profitability

Zona Franca Celsia, like many power plants in today’s energy market, faced a common challenge: the assets were declining in performance and the demand for and cost of power generation was growing.

The plant on the Caribbean coast began operation in 1993 with two combined cycle power plants (CCPPs) that provided thermoelectric energy to the Colombian grid. With more than 70% of Colombia’s power system characterized by large installed capacity for hydro power, the ability for Celsia to deliver power readily and reliably during dry seasons is critical to the country’s infrastructure. 

To continue to provide electricity to thousands of Colombian homes and business, Celsia needed an upgrade solution that would improve plant reliability and availability while reducing costs. Celsia partnered with Siemens to redefine the performance of the two CCPPs in Barranquilla. After implementing an optimization plan that involved state-of-the-art modernizations rather than replacements, Celsia now delivers even more power to the national grid, benefiting from boosted startup reliability and shutdown, improved cybersecurity, and cost-saving efficiency.  

Partnership – An ally for the ages

It makes us happy to see Siemens bringing us new digital transformation ideas that allow us to operate and keep getting better.

Ricardo Sierra

Leader - Celsia

Celsia and its allies, in this case Siemens, continue to be fully committed to ensuring that the country will keep growing, keep developing, and keep having the reliable energy it needs.

Marcelo Álvarez

Leader of Generation - Celsia

Siemens is not just a supplier; they are a strategic ally. We’ve been working together since 1995, with excellent results. I’d say we’ve received everything we’ve hoped for and more.

Jaime Pardo

Thermal Power Generation Leader - Celsia

An investment that pays off – Becoming the Caribbean’s most efficient natural gas plant

Today, Celsia operates with an installed capacity of 610 MW. The plant has become the most efficient natural gas plant in the Caribbean without replacing any of the existing turbines. The plant can control both power generation blocks from a single platform, helping to streamline end-to-end operations. Either Celsia or Siemens can perform remote diagnostics, which significantly improves reliability and availability through proactive, real-time monitoring. Enhanced components with better design, material and thermal barriers help to reduce energy loss and lengthen maintenance intervals. Advanced cyber security and hardware reinforcements help to protect the operational technology and keep the plant safe from both cyber threats and environmental risks. With a customized upgrade solution from Siemens, the 30-year-old power plant was able to increase reliability, availability, efficiency and security.

The upgrades that led to the outcomes

Prior to developing an optimization plan for Celsia, Siemens conducted a thorough assessment of the gas turbines and control systems and identified key digital and mechanical improvements that could increase reliability, lessen downtime, mitigate costs, increase power and provide more plant security. Deciding to redefine performance rather than replace assets, Celsia partnered with Siemens who was able to implement the upgrades on-time and without safety incidents.