Wartsila to supply 56 MW worth of engines to Kansas municipal

Wärtsilä said March 4 that it has been contracted to supply a 56-MW Smart Power Generation power plant to Coffeyville Municipal Light and Power (CMLP) in Kansas.

The project consists of three gas-fired Wärtsilä 50SG engines and it is scheduled to start commercial operation in January 2017.

“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 Director Gene Ratzlaff said.

The SPP 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, said Wärtsilä.

According to a new white paper by Wärtsilä and Ascend Analytics, an engine-based power plant can make 740% more profit in the SPP market than a competing solution, which would be an 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

In a March 6 e-mail to GenerationHub, Ratzlaff said these engines will constitute a new generating facility located at the city’s Industrial Park.

Wärtsilä noted that it has over 2,500 MW of installed capacity in the United States. 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. Its 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.

The minutes for the Feb. 10 meeting of the Coffeyville City Commission show that Wärtsilä was one of three bidders for this business and that the commission approved a contract to be awarded to the company for three 18.6-MW engine sets for an amount not to exceed $29.6 million. The Stillwater Utility Authority handled the bidding process.

The minutes also show that the commission approved an amendment to a power purchase agreement with the Grand River Dam Authority for a contract term beginning Jan. 1, 2017, with the Wärtsilä engines to be part of that agreement.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.