Large U.S. utility confirms Wärtsilä’s grid-balancing advantages with order for two new power plants
The technology group Wärtsilä will supply its internal combustion engine technology for two new U.S. power plants. The order was placed by a major American investor-owned utility in the Upper Midwest. The Wärtsilä engines were selected primarily for their grid-balancing capabilities as the utility expands its integration of renewable energy, notably wind and solar. The order was booked into Wärtsilä’s order intake in November 2022.
The two plants will operate with Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel engines. The first plant will generate an output of 28 MW from three engines, while the second will provide 47 MW of power from five engines. All eight engines will run on natural gas, the cleanest of all available fossil fuels, and will have the capability to use light fuel oil if natural gas is not available. This dual-fuel capability will ensure a secure supply of electricity.
The fast-starting and stopping flexibility of the Wärtsilä engines was a major consideration in the award of these contracts. Rapid grid balancing is necessary to offset the intermittency of supply as the share of renewables in the system is increased to support the utility’s decarbonisation ambitions. The operational flexibility of Wärtsilä’s technology enables full output to be reached in a matter of minutes. The engines will also provide black start capability to increase the system’s resiliency and reliability.
“We are pleased to have been awarded these contracts. They represent an endorsement of our commitment to delivering power supply solutions that speed the journey towards a decarbonised global energy sector. The flexibility to achieve effective and efficient grid balancing is an essential element in realising the environmental benefits that renewables offer. This is the future for power generation, and it’s available today,” said Jon Rodriguez, Energy Business Director, Engine Power Plants, Wärtsilä North America.
Current Wärtsilä gas engine power plants can use up to 25 vol% hydrogen blends in natural gas. Though Wärtsilä engines can be operated on even higher hydrogen-blend levels, fuel tests are restricted to the limit of 25 vol% hydrogen for natural gas systems, according to the international equipment standard IEC/EN 60079-20-1. Wärtsilä has announced there is ongoing development at the company for pure hydrogen and other P2X carbon-free fuels.
Wärtsilä has a major presence in the U.S.A. with offices in nine strategic locations. To date the company has an installed base of 3,800 MW in the country.
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Image caption: Wärtsilä will deliver altogether eight Wärtsilä 34DF engines to two existing facilities in the Upper Midwest. © Wärtsilä Corporation
Wärtsilä Energy in brief
Wärtsilä Energy leads the transition towards a 100% renewable energy future. We help our partners to accelerate their decarbonisation journeys through our market-leading technologies and power system modelling expertise. These cover decarbonisation services, future-fuel enabled balancing power plants, hybrid solutions, energy storage and optimisation technology, including the GEMS energy management platform. Wärtsilä Energy’s lifecycle services are designed to increase efficiency, promote reliability and guarantee operational performance. Our track record comprises 76 GW of power plant capacity and 110 energy storage systems delivered to 180 countries around the world.
Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä is a global leader in innovative technologies and lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. We emphasise innovation in sustainable technology and services to help our customers continuously improve their environmental and economic performance. Our dedicated and passionate team of 17,000 professionals in more than 200 locations in 68 countries shape the decarbonisation transformation of our industries across the globe. In 2021, Wärtsilä’s net sales totalled EUR 4.8 billion. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.
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