Gas-Fired Engines Replacing Turbine Power Plant

By Jack Burke08 January 2018

Wärtsilä will deliver a 22.7 MW Smart Power Generation plant to Cooperative Energy, a member-owned electric cooperative based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA.

The project will consist of two gas-fired 31SG engines and will mark the first order for the gas engine, which debuted in November 2017.

The defining feature of the Wärtsilä 31SG is its ability to achieve simple-cycle efficiency levels in excess of 50%, which represents a milestone achievement in the energy sector, according to the company. In addition to reducing emissions, this higher efficiency offers the potential for considerable cost savings to power producers.

Another benefit of the Wärtsilä 31SG is the increased flexibility which enables rapid response to continuously changing load patterns, especially within systems having a notable share of solar and wind energy, the company said. The engine can be continuously operated at 10% load, and can reach full load in two minutes from the start command. This flexibility overcomes the challenge created by the daily stops and starts that are inevitable with output from renewable sources.

The 20-cylinder, spark-ignited Wärtsilä 31SG produces 12 MW of power. The specially designed robust engine structure has a brake mean effective pressure (BMEP) of 30 bar, allowing it to fully accommodate all the benefits of two-stage turbocharging.

The plant located in Benndale, Miss., will provide grid support for renewable integration for the Cooperative Energy system as well as reliability during potential transmission outages caused by hurricanes or other severe weather conditions, the company said. The order with Wärtsilä was booked in December 2017.

The selection of the Smart Power Generation solution is advantageous as Cooperative Energy is in the process of installing increasing levels of renewable generation, notably new solar generation into their network. The new Wärtsilä 31SG engine solution will provide the required flexibility for renewable integration, the company said. The plant will replace an existing gas turbine power plant.

“As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, our mission is to provide our members with electricity that is both reliable and economical,” said Jim Compton, Cooperative Energy president/CEO. “Wärtsilä’s Smart Power Generation plant, which is a great complement to our current generation sources, enables us to achieve this mission and as a result, we are proud to partner with Wärtsilä on this project.”

“Our track record in being a technology leader in power generation in 177 countries around the world, and in all types of climates and operating conditions, represents a clear indication of the value proposition Wärtsilä can deliver to the market. Cooperative Energy is a forerunner in delivering a modern and flexible electricity supply to its members. Wärtsilä is proud to be a partner in this,” said Mikael Backman, regional director, US & Canada, Wärtsilä Energy Solutions.

The equipment will be delivered to the site in 2018, and commercial operations are expected to commence in 2019.

Wärtsilä currently has an installed base of more than 3400 MW in the USA, while its global installed base exceeds 65 GW in 177 countries.

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