Wärtsilä has received full notice to proceed with the delivery of the 10 50SG engines for two new power plants being built by an investor owned utility in the USA.
The plants are owned by Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corp. (UMERC), a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group one of the USA’s leading energy companies. The selection of the Wärtsilä smart power generation solution was made in order to accommodate a broad range of operating profiles for which flexibility is a prime requirement. The letter of intent was signed, and the order booked with Wärtsilä in May 2017, while the full notice to proceed was given in November.
The two power plants, located in the Negaunee and Baraga townships in Michigan, will have a combined output of 188 MW provided by a total of 10 Wärtsilä 50SG engines running on natural gas fuel. The Wärtsilä 50SG is a four-stroke, spark ignited gas engine that works according to the Otto principle and the lean-burn process. The engine runs at 500 or 514 rpm for 50 or 60 Hz applications, and produces 18 810 and 19 260 kW of mechanical power respectively.
The plants will serve some 40 000 residential consumers as well as a large mining operation, which creates various generation and balancing needs in the region. The fast starting and responsive flexibility of the Wärtsilä solution was, therefore, cited as being an important consideration in the award of this contract. Furthermore, by operating on clean burning natural gas, the environmental impact of the two new plants will be minimized.
The Wärtsilä plants will replace an existing coal-fired power plant and are expected to provide baseload and intermittent power. Their ability to react rapidly to the fluctuating demand from the local operations was a critical factor for UMERC.
“Wärtsilä’s Smart Power Generation solution will enable efficiency to be maintained across a broad range of output. It requires very limited use of water for cooling and the environmental footprint is small, plus the modularized solution means that additional capacity can easily be accommodated if needed,” said Mikael Backman, regional director, US & Canada, Wärtsilä Energy Solutions.
The Wärtsilä engines are scheduled for delivery in the latter half of 2018 and the plants are expected to come on line in 2019.
Wärtsilä currently has an installed base of more than 3000 MW in the USA, while its global installed base exceeds 65 GW in 177 countries.