The technology group Wärtsilä will supply the engines for a large power plant to be installed in Latin America. Initially, the plant will provide baseload power to the grid, but the rapid start-up flexibility of the engines will enable it to take on a grid balancing role as the system’s share of renewable energy increases. The order, valued at more than EUR 100 million, was placed by a major EPC contractor, and was booked in Wärtsilä’s order intake in November 2022.
The plant will operate with 18 Wärtsilä 50SG gas engines, which in simple cycle deliver an output of 339 MW. In combined cycle mode, the heat from the stacks will be recovered to provide more than 350 MW. The combined cycle will be developed by the customer on a configuration of three steam turbines, which further improves the plant’s flexibility and will operate at maximum efficiency even at part loads. The high overall efficiency level of the plant will reduce emissions, while the ability of the Wärtsilä engines to accept future sustainable fuels as they become available, provides future-proof sustainability for the plant.
Wärtsilä’s gas engines are designed to act as a bridging technology; by providing baseload power now, before optimally switching to provide balancing power to support the build-out of renewable energy technologies.
“Wärtsilä is a leader in shaping the decarbonisation of the energy industry and this order is an example of how the sector can achieve this goal in the long term. Flexible engines like the Wärtsilä 50SG can be started and stopped within a matter of minutes, which is essential for balancing the fluctuating supply from renewables. Optimising power systems and operational flexibility will continue to grow in importance as we increase the level of renewable energy. The Wärtsilä engines meet all the requirements, not only for current needs but for future developments as well,” said Risto Paldanius, Vice President, Americas, Wärtsilä Energy.
The Wärtsilä equipment is being delivered on a fast-track basis and is scheduled to be on site early in 2023. The plant is expected to commence commercial operations in August 2024.
Wärtsilä is dedicated to supporting the transition to renewable power throughout the whole of Latin America. To date Wärtsilä has approximately 10.6 GW of installed capacity in 254 power plants with 1,060 engines in seventeen Latin American countries. 2.7 GW of this capacity is covered by Wärtsilä long-term service agreements.
Wärtsilä has conducted power system modelling in more than 190 regions around the world, from Chile to California, which has consistently shown that renewable technologies can reliably meet demand when they are deployed alongside flexible capacity, provided by a combination of balancing engines and energy storage.