Wärtsilä supplies more flexible generation to the real-time electricity market of Southwestern USA

Wärtsilä Corporation, Press release 4 March 2015 at 09:30 UTC+2
  • The Wärtsilä 50SG is the largest gas-fired engine in the world

Wärtsilä has been contracted to supply a 56 MW Smart Power Generation power plant to Coffeyville Municipal Light and Power (CMLP) in Kansas, USA. The power station will consist of three gas-fired Wärtsilä 50SG engines and is scheduled to start commercial operation in January 2017.

The new power plant will improve CMLP’s position in the electricity market. “Our current units take 6–8 hours to full load. We need much more flexibility in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) market. We like the fact that Wärtsilä engines can go to full power in less than 10 minutes. That makes us much more competitive,” CMLP’s Director Gene Ratzlaff said.

The SPP, a regional transmission organization operating in nine Southwestern states, launched a real-time electricity spot market in March 2014. In the real-time market, electricity prices are very volatile. Fast-starting engines can be used to capture unexpected price spikes, realizing profits in the dynamic dispatch market. During the first year of the real-time market, some of the existing Smart Power Generation plants in the SPP region have seen 10-fold increases in running hours.

According to a new white paper by Wärtsilä and Ascend Analytics, an engine-based power plant can make 740 percent more profit in the SPP market than a competing solution, open cycle gas turbine. This is due to the fact that engines can follow electricity prices more rapidly and efficiently than gas turbines. The comparison was made against real market prices from March to September 2014.

In Coffeyville, the new power station will provide peaking power and support for wind energy. “We have so much wind power that if the wind stops blowing, you can lose hundreds of megawatts of power. Fast capacity is needed to compensate the loss,” Ratzlaff said.

For CMLP, an additional benefit of the Wärtsilä engines is reliability. “In 2012 we spent three hours in the dark after losing two transmission lines. With these engines we will be back online in 10 minutes. This is very important to industrial customers.”

Wärtsilä has over 2500 MW of installed capacity in the United States.

Download the SPP white paper here: www.smartpowergeneration.com/spp

Download image: Wärtsilä 50SG engine
Caption: The Wärtsilä 50SG is the largest gas-fired engine in the world

For further information please contact:

Gary Groninger
Business Development Manager
Wärtsilä Energy Solutions
Tel: +1 931 523 5126

Juka-Pekka Niemi
General Manager, Marketing
Wärtsilä Energy Solutions 
Tel: +358 10 709 0000

Wärtsilä Power Plants in brief
Wärtsilä Power Plants is a leading global supplier of flexible baseload power plants of up to 600 MW operating on various gaseous and liquid fuels. Our portfolio includes unique solutions for peaking, reserve and load-following power generation, as well as for balancing intermittent power production. Wärtsilä Power Plants also provides LNG terminals and distribution systems. As of 2015, Wärtsilä has 58 GW of installed power plant capacity in 170 countries around the world.

Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä is a global leader in complete lifecycle power solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising technological innovation and total efficiency, Wärtsilä maximizes the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2014, Wärtsilä's net sales totalled EUR 4.8 billion with approximately 17,700 employees. The company has operations in more than 200 locations in nearly 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki, Finland.