Marquette + Wärtsilä

Reference case

Flexible power plant provides reliability with sustainable fuels in The Great Lakes state

When the temperature drops to –40 degrees Celsius, blackouts are not an option. In order to secure a reliable energy supply and enable more renewable energy, Marquette Board of Light and Power (MBLP) in Michigan, USA, opted for Wärtsilä Smart Power Generation technology. As an added benefit, the ultra-flexible power plant provides a new source of income by following real-time electricity prices. The dual-fuel plant replaces old coal-fired capacity.

Marquette, a town of some 20,000 people in northern Michigan, sits at the end of the region’s transmission line. Until now, the town has relied on two coal units and some hydro power, with about 10 percent of the town’s electricity imported from a utility further south. The coal units, however, are getting old.

“That is a big part of the driver to install these Wärtsilä units. We had to take care of our own reliability since we couldn’t depend on the outside world anymore. We’re living on the ragged edge, and if we continue doing that we’ll be like some other communities that go black for several hours a day, but that’s unacceptable when it’s minus 40 degrees Celsius,” says Paul Kitti, Executive Director, Marquette Board of Light and Power (MBLP).

WhoMarquette board of light and power
What50 MW Marquette energy center
WhereMichigan, USA


This is what we achieved


Of electrical output.


households powered in northern Michigan.


And less, to reach full load.

Wärtsilä’s solution is reliable, efficient, flexible in fuel choice, and also environmentally sustainable. It will support our compliance with upcoming CO2 regulations.

Paul Kitti, Executive Director of Marquette Board of Light and Power

How we did it

Challenge icon


  • Add intermittent wind and solar
  • Cold climate, remote location
  • Upcoming carbon regulations
Solution icon


  • Flexible back-up power
  • Reliable energy supply
  • Efficient gas power
Benefit icon


  • Enable more renewables
  • Keep the lights on at all times
  • Meet emission requirements

The main details

CustomerMarquette board of light and power
TypeWärtsilä 18V50DF peaking and back-up baseload power plant
Where Michigan, USA
Total output50 MW
FuelNatural gas, light fuel oil as back-up
ScopeEngineering, equipment, delivery (EEQ)



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