Wärtsilä wins major contract to supply equipment for 170 MW power plant in Texas, USA
Wärtsilä, a leading supplier of flexible power plants for the decentralised power generation market, has been contracted to supply a 170 MW gas-fired power plant to be installed in Antelope Station, located near Abernathy, Texas, USA.
The power plant is to be located close to significant wind farm generation, and will serve to stabilise the grid when the output from the wind farms change unexpectedly because of weather changes. The contract was signed in November with Golden Spread Electric Cooperative, Inc. (GSEC), a consumer-owned public utility providing power to 16 member distribution cooperatives that serve 208,000 retail consumers.
“We are thrilled to be selected by Golden Spread and to be bringing more Wärtsilä flexible power to Texas. The quick start and rapid response characteristics of this plant will assist in assuring high grid reliability while providing competitive energy to GSEC members,” says Frank Donnelly, President of Wärtsilä North America, Inc.
The new power plant will incorporate 18 Wärtsilä 20V34SG generating sets, along with mechanical, electrical and control auxiliaries, switchgear and exhaust emission controls. Additionally, Wärtsilä will provide installation and commissioning support, as well as factory training. The power plant, which is expected to achieve commercial operation in early 2011, will generate approximately 170 MW, enough to meet the peak load requirements of 55,000 homes.
A primary reason for selecting the Wärtsilä technology is its “quick start” capability. The engines are designed to achieve full operation in less than 10 minutes, whereas traditional gas-fired generation can take from one to four hours to start.
“The growing summer electricity demand and the large amount of wind generation that is located in the region, were the main drivers in GSEC’s choice of quick-start generation technology,” says Mark W. Schwirtz, President and General Manager of the generation cooperative.
Wind generation output varies according to wind speed. Reductions in wind generation output must be offset immediately by a corresponding increase in output from other generators.
“Quick-start generation works well in meeting this type of electricity supply requirement. The new units are also fuel efficient and use almost no water,” Schwirtz continues. Additionally, by adding eighteen separate units, Golden Spread reduces its risk from unit failures.
Wärtsilä´s flexible power plants – a superior alternative
With this new order, Wärtsilä has close to 1000 MW of flexible power plant capacity, either installed or on order, in the USA.
Wärtsilä’s flexible power plant features include the ability to reach full plant output in less than ten minutes, provide 25 percent power in two minutes, the highest simple cycle efficiency available in the industry, constant performance over varying ambient conditions, low lifecycle costs, multi unit power plant solutions, and rapid response to varying grid conditions.
Wärtsilä’s natural gas fueled technology has the capability to operate efficiently at low loads; a capability that can be used for providing “spinning reserve” for the system. This increases the value of the power plant. Additionally, Wärtsilä’s flexible power plants are able to supply all commercially traded ancillary services, including black start capabilities.
Wärtsilä’s flexible power plants also allow customers to meet today’s increasingly stringent air quality requirements. Furthermore, by employing a closed loop cooling system, Wärtsilä’s engines do not consume process water or require significant wastewater treatment or disposal. This helps to address the growing concern over water supply in many areas of the USA.