Wärtsilä to provide 156 MW of thermal balancing power for Omaha Public Power District, enabling fast increase in renewables in Nebraska

Wärtsilä Corporation, Press release 6 July 2021 at 14:00 UTC+2
  • A 156 MW power plant with fast-starting Wärtsilä 50DF multi-fuel engines will provide thermal balancing power to a utility in Omaha to ensure system stability in Nebraska.© Wärtsilä Corporation

The technology group Wärtsilä will supply equipment for a 156 MW multi-fuel engine power plant to Omaha Public Power District, a public electric utility in the state of Nebraska in the United States. The power plant will be part of the utility’s Power with Purpose project, which will add 400 to 600 MW of utility-scale solar generation along with additional dispatchable balancing power. Since the production of renewable energy varies over the day and is dependent on the weather situation, Wärtsilä’s technology with fast-starting internal combustion engines will be used to balance the power generation to the grid and ensure system stability.

The contract is included in Wärtsilä’s order intake for the second quarter of 2021. The equipment will be delivered during the second half of 2022, and the plant is scheduled to begin commercial operations in May 2023.

Omaha Public Power District’s goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 includes the addition of variable, renewable energy resources balanced by the use of Wärtsilä technology to provide reliability and resiliency. The project is well connected to Wärtsilä’s shift to 100% renewables strategy, whereby the growing share of variable renewable energy is enabled by thermal balancing power.

“We are excited to work together with Omaha Public Power District and support the continued journey towards net-zero carbon emissions and an increased share of renewables in their system. This is yet another example of how we are enabling decarbonisation and supporting our customers on their way to a renewable energy future. Wärtsilä technology is very well suited to providing balancing power through high operational flexibility, reliability and uptime. In fact, this is the second important order of a thermal balancing power plant we announce within the week, the first being the order to Italy.

With our holistic approach to power systems and expertise in different power generating assets, we can support our customers in defining paths to future sustainable power generation,” says Håkan Agnevall, President and CEO, Wärtsilä Corporation.

The new Standing Bear Lake Station plant will be located in Douglas County, Nebraska, and will include nine 18-cylinder Wärtsilä 50DF engines operating on natural gas and light fuel oil as needed. Wärtsilä’s multi-fuel engine technology provides fuel resiliency with engines capable of burning natural gas, light fuel oil, and even hydrogen blends. Wärtsilä engines can later be converted to carbon neutral fuels to further enhance decarbonisation.

Wärtsilä has researched hydrogen as a fuel for 20 years and can currently use 15%-25% hydrogen blended with natural gas. Going forward Wärtsilä is developing the combustion process in its gas engines to enable their use with up to 100% hydrogen.

The installed capacity of Wärtsilä power plants in the United States is close to 3.6GW. Examples of major Wärtsilä balancing power plants in the country include deliveries to Plains endGoodman EnergyDenton Energy Center, and New Orleans Power Station.

Learn more:

Wärtsilä Balancing solutions
Wärtsilä multi-fuel power plants

Media contact for more information on this release:

Mirja-Maija Santala
Manager, Marketing & Communications
Wärtsilä Energy
Mob: +358 400 793 827

Image caption: A 156 MW multi-fuel engine power plant with fast-starting Wärtsilä 50DF internal combustion engines will provide thermal balancing power for Omaha Public Power District to ensure system stability.
© Wärtsilä Corporation

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Wärtsilä Energy in brief
Wärtsilä Energy leads the transition towards a 100% renewable energy future. We help our customers in decarbonisation by developing market-leading technologies. These cover future-fuel enabled balancing power plants, hybrid solutions, energy storage and optimisation technology, including the GEMS energy management platform. Wärtsilä Energy’s lifecycle services are designed to increase efficiency, promote reliability and guarantee operational performance. Our track record comprises 74 GW of power plant capacity and more than 80 energy storage systems delivered to 180 countries around the world.

Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä is a global leader in smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising sustainable innovation, total efficiency and data analytics, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2020, Wärtsilä's net sales totalled EUR 4.6 billion with approximately 18,000 employees. The company has operations in over 200 locations in more than 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki