The Portlands Energy Centre uses natural gas to produce thermal energy in the form of combustion and steam. The steam is used to turn a turbine which in turn produces electricity. The electricity is transmitted to homes, businesses, and institutions through transmission lines. Natural-gas fired plants can start on demand and are used to produce ‘peak’ energy during times of high demand.
In a combined cycle generating station, natural gas is burned to produce two sources (cycles) of energy. In Cycle 1, natural gas is piped into the plant and combusted. The combustion process turns a gas turbine. In Cycle 2, the heat generated by burning gas is captured to produce steam which turns a steam turbine. This produces the second cycle of energy.