Italy’s new capacity market enables a more sustainable, cost-efficient, and stable energy system with lesser CO2 emissions. With a greater share of renewable energy sources, the system also needs flexible balancing power. The operators participating in the new market are obligated to provide, when called, a certain amount of energy, for a defined period of time, in a particular region, through long-term supply contracts.
With its new Wärtsilä power plants, energy utility Metaenergiaproduzione has been granted a contract to participate in the Italian capacity market for 15 years. The plants, which provide a combined output of 380 MW, are built in six brown-field locations in the cities of Gorizia, Castellanza, Piombino, Sulmona, Cassino, and Melfi. When delivered in June 2022, each plant will be on call by Terna, and is expected to run 2000 hours/year, whenever the sun is not shining, the wind is not blowing, or there is an unexpected peak in energy demand.
Metaenergiaproduzione’s new balancing fleet will run on Wärtsilä 50SG engines, with an addition of four Wärtsilä 31SG engines in the Sulmona power plant. Both engine types are excellent enablers for renewable energy, representing the latest engine design with the highest electrical efficiency and fuel economy on the market. The Wärtsilä engines start up in minutes, which, together with the plants’ modular design, allow Metaenergiaproduzione to quickly respond to Terna’s energy demand with as much power as needed. The modular design also significantly reduces the plants’ maintenance time and costs, improving further their availability and reliability. Adhering to Terna’s low emission regulations, the new power plant fleet is a great fit for Metaenergiaproduzione’s environmental targets:
“Metaenergiaproduzione is committed to protecting the environment through careful energy consumption and the greater use of energy from renewable sources. We are, therefore, pleased to participate in the capacity market, for which we need the flexibility to respond quickly to changing demand. Wärtsilä’s engine technology provides this flexibility, and with very high efficiency,” says Constantin von Wasserschleben, Chairman of the international asset management IKAV Group, a significant owner of the project company.
The flexibility of the new power plant fleet offers Metaenergiaproduzione several options to maximise the returns of its new investment. While the power plants are to be fuelled by natural gas, the Wärtsilä engines are future-proof, allowing a switch to forthcoming decarbonised fuels. Thanks to their multiple engines, the plants can be run with the same efficiency at any load and can also be used for heat recovery and in the day-ahead-market in their respective regions, when not fulfilling their balancing obligations in the capacity market.
Enabler of a 100% renewable energy future
As a single frame contract, this is the largest project Wärtsilä has ever delivered to Italy and the largest fleet of power plants Wärtsilä has delivered to any country. The project is a milestone, strengthening Wärtsilä’s position further as an enabler of a 100% renewable energy future: “The challenge in this project is to execute and install a fleet of power plants in parallel, but we have shown that nothing is impossible, and are very happy to have been given this opportunity in Italy. The finished power plants will take part in providing stability to the Italian energy system, while allowing the development of renewable energy,” says Marco Golinelli, Director of Wärtsilä Energy Solutions in Italy.