Wärtsilä wins $106M contract for Alaska power plant

Helsinki, Finlandbased Wärtsilä Corp., a global supplier of flexible and efficient power plant solutions, on March 13 said it has received a $106 million contract from Matanuska Electric Association (MEA) to supply the engineering and generating equipment for a new power plant to be installed in Alaska.

The new power plant will add the generated-electricity to the local grid and to MEA’s roughly 4,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines. The new plant will supply electricity to more than 100,000 households.

Under the terms of the agreement, Wärtsilä will supply 10, 18-cylinder Wärtsilä 50DF (V configuration) dual-fuel generating sets that will be operated primarily on natural gas. In case of interruption to the gas supply, the advanced Wärtsilä dual-fuel technology enables the engines to switch smoothly while operating to an alternative fuel, in this case light fuel oil (LFO), Wärtsilä said in a statement.

“In the event of a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, these engines can switch fuels without a hiccup, and that was a huge consideration in our decision to go with Wärtsilä. We are moving towards becoming a vertically-integrated co-op providing electricity generation from our Wärtsilä engines, and upgrading our transmission system for a reliable delivery to our members,” General Manager Joe Griffith said.

The Wärtsilä generating sets meet the State of Alaska air quality permits specific to the project. The plant provides the reliability, efficiency and environmental sustainability demanded by the customer.

The power plant will be utilized to provide intermediate load following electricity generation, Wärtsilä said.

“This is an important order for Wärtsilä and further validation of the success of the 50DF technology, which provides the efficiency and environmental sustainability demanded by the customer. The low emission levels and reduced fuel consumption give the Wärtsilä 50DF engines a substantial edge over the alternative gas turbines. Furthermore, the flexibility both in fuel choice and in being able to cope with large swings in the system load was particularly important in our negotiations,” Wärtsilä’s Business Development Manager Dennis Finn said in a statement.

Delivery is scheduled during the autumn of 2013, and the plant is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2014.