Wärtsilä To Supply 225 MW Flexible Power Plant To Texas Utility
Wärtsilä, a leading global supplier of flexible and efficient power plant solutions, has received an order to engineer and supply a large power plant to South Texas Electric Cooperative (STEC) in the USA. The contract was signed in December 2012, and the order is included in Wärtsilä’s fourth quarter 2012 order book.
The STEC Red Gate power plant will be located in Hidalgo County, Texas and is scheduled to be in commercial operation by summer 2014. The plant will be powered by 12 Wärtsilä 50SG engines running on natural gas. The total output of the plant will be 225 MW and will help STEC to meet the growing demand for electricity in South Texas.
"Wärtsilä engine technology has proven to be very effective at meeting the challenges of a dynamic ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) market. We see continued value in investments in flexible, efficient combustion engines to serve the needs of our member cooperatives, and we are very pleased to work with Wärtsilä on our Red Gate Power Project," says John Packard, Manager of Generation, South Texas Electric Cooperative.
The new Red Gate power plant is designed to meet BACT (Best Available Control Technology) pollution standards as mandated by the United States Clean Air Act. The high efficiency of the Wärtsilä combustion engine technology results in fewer emissions of CO2 than simple cycle gas turbine solutions. One of the benefits of the Wärtsilä 50SG engine is that its high simple cycle efficiency is achieved with minimal water consumption.
“In today’s power generation market, flexibility, quick start-up capability, superior load following and low water consumption are essential factors, and these were important considerations in the award of this valuable contract. Furthermore, the high level of engine efficiency means that the lifecycle costs of the Wärtsilä solution are very favourable,” says Wayne Elmore, Regional Director, Power Plants Sales, Wärtsilä North America.
Wärtsilä has also signed a Maintenance Agreement to provide technical and operational assistance with maintenance planning, technical advisors, spare parts, and an on-site inventory. “We are very pleased that STEC entered into a Wärtsilä Maintenance Agreement which provides technical, parts and risk sharing support in managing its Red Gate operations,” says Aron Rader, Area General Manager, Agreement Support, Wärtsilä North America.
Wärtsilä already has three power plants installed in Texas, including the 200 MW plant at Pearsall, Texas owned and operated by STEC. Globally, Wärtsilä has sold 4,600 power plants in 169 countries with a total generating capacity of more than 49 GW.
The Wärtsilä 50SG engine
The Wärtsilä 50SG is a four-stroke, spark-ignited gas engine operating on the Otto cycle and incorporating the lean-burn principle. It has been designed using the proven gas technology used in the smaller Wärtsilä 34SG engine. An important feature of this engine is its exceptionally high power plant net electrical efficiency rating at high ambient temperatures - more than 50 percent in combined-cycle mode.
The lean-burn gas engines (SG) feature port admission of gas, a pre-chamber with controlled gas flow, as well as individual cylinder control of the gas charge and ignition timing. This choice of concept, along with extensive research in combustion and combustion control, has made it possible to elevate the efficiency from 40% to more than 48% in the bigger engine models. The combination of high efficiency and low emissions makes the 50SG a technology leader in today’s energy market.