Hybrid power plants

The future of energy is hybrid solutions

Hybrid power plants

The rapid fall in the cost of renewable energy in recent years means it is now the most affordable way to generate electricity in many parts of the world. At the same time, the need for a radical reduction and even reversal of carbon emissions is driving cities, corporations and utilities to set ambitious targets for moving towards 100% renewable energy.

Wärtsilä’s innovative hybrid energy solutions support and accelerate this transition towards a clean energy future. They combine energy storage and a flexible engine power plants which can be integrated with renewable assets, providing considerable potential for fuel and cost savings – especially in remote areas such as island and isolated grids where fuel prices tend to be high.

The value of the energy produced by a hybrid power plant can be enhanced with the Wärtsilä GEMS Digital Energy Platform, which uses data-driven intelligence to monitor, control and optimise energy production at both site and portfolio levels.

Reduce fuel costs and emissions with energy storage

Adding renewable generation capacity to a power system isn’t the only way to achieve cleaner electricity production. According to studies carried out by Wärtsilä, adding energy storage to a gas power plant can reduce its fuel consumption and therefore emissions by as much as 6%.  

  • Wärtsilä hybrid power plant rendering
    Wärtsilä hybrid power plants in a nutshell

    By using the energy storage capacity as spinning reserve, thermal generation can be operated at higher loads with better fuel efficiency as a result of reduced engine running hours. Energy storage capacity can also be used to stabilise the grid, providing additional value to customers.

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Sample applications

  • Instant power
  • Power quality – frequency and voltage control
  • Spinning reserve replacement
  • Ancillary services
  • Black-start capability
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  • Optimised plant operation
  • Fuel savings and emission reduction
  • Maintenance optimisation and cost savings
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Enhanced dispatchability
  • Optimised integration of renewables and additional generation assets

Wärtsilä GEMS Digital Energy Platform

The Wärtsilä GEMS smart energy management software platform suite purpose-built, end-to-end grid management capabilities. The platform uses machine learning and historic and real-time data analytics to optimise the asset mix, and enables customers to remotely monitor, operate, identify and diagnose assets safely, reliably and flexibly.

Spinning reserve by engines

Lower average load. Year average 74%, ave. efficiency 42,2%

The graph shows a setup where five engines are operated at partial load in order to provide sufficient spinning reserve capacity in case of a disturbance in one of the engines. This situation is non-optimal in terms of fuel efficiency, emissions and maintenance.

Spinning Reserve by Engines

Spinning reserve by storage

Higher average load. Year average 90%, ave. efficiency 43,0%

The graph shows a setup where the spinning reserve capacity of the engines is replaced by an energy storage system, which eliminates the need to run a fifth engine. This maximises engine efficiency and minimises emissions and maintenance costs. Based on automatic commands by GEMS, the energy storage system can compensate for any loss of power generation capacity caused by engine disturbances until the disturbance is resolved or a standby engine is ready to take the load.

Spinning Reserve by Storage

Power-system modelling example

This example, based on power-system modelling by Wärtsilä, illustrates an optimised transition towards a 100% renewable energy system including the electricity cost per MWh. An optimal setup includes a combination of renewables, engines running on synthetic fuels and energy storage capacity. For further examples download Wärtsilä’s business white paper: The path towards a 100% renewable energy future

Wärtsilä’s hybrid power system modelling takes into account the following parameters:

  • Seasonal and hourly variations in electricity demand
  • The cost, availability and hourly and seasonal variations of wind and solar energy
  • The availability of technologies and fuels – such as synthetic fuels and biofuels ­– that can be used to balance the variable output of renewable sources
  • The capital costs of different technologies

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