Wartsila wins major natural gas power plant order in New Mexico

Source: Wartsila Corporation 

Wartsila, a leading global supplier of decentralized power plant solutions, has won a major power plant order from a United States cooperative utility. Wartsila was awarded the contract to supply the engineering and equipment for the Lea County Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LCEC) Generation Plant, located in Lovington, New Mexico. 

The contract calls for Wartsila to supply five Wartsila 20V34SG generating sets, together with associated equipment including Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) units for reducing greenhouse gas and NOX emissions. The plant is scheduled to be fully operational by June 2012. The more than 40 MW of electricity generated by the power plant will be distributed to the LCEC Members and the Southwest Power Pool. This output can be increased in the future with minor modifications, since the Wartsila engines are already sized to accommodate the increase. 

Cooperative utilities provide electricity to its members, with each customer being an owner of the business. This non-profit concept was introduced in the United States in the 1930s in order to bring electricity to rural areas, where otherwise it may not have been economically viable for a utility to invest in a power infrastructure.
Since LCEC is a member owned utility obtaining financing for this project from the US Government's Rural Utility Service (RUS), it was necessary for Wartsila to comply with RUS contract requirements. This is the first Wartsila contract to be financed by RUS. 

"The suitability of Wartsila's power plant technology to the needs of the American cooperative utilities is now well established. The LCEC project is the fifth such cooperative to select our power generating solution. It is critical for these plants to reach full plant output within five minutes from warm stand-by mode, and Wartsila has this capability. The outstanding simple cycle heat rate was another critical factor in the client's choice of Wartsila equipment as was the fact that the Wartsila equipment does not consume process water," commented Dennis Finn, Business Development Manager, Wartsila Power Plants in North America. 

With this new order, Wartsila has more than 1500 MW of flexible power plant capacity, either installed or on order in the USA. 

Wartsila's flexible power plant features include the ability to reach full plant output in five minutes, provide 25 percent power in two minutes, the highest simple cycle efficiency available in the industry, constant performance over varying ambient conditions, low lifecycle costs, multi unit power plant solutions, and rapid response to varying grid conditions. 

Wartsila's natural gas fueled technology has the capability to operate efficiently at low loads; a capability that can be used for providing "spinning reserve" for the system. This increases the value of the power plant. Additionally, Wartsila's flexible power plants are able to supply all commercially traded ancillary services, including black start capabilities. 

Wartsila's flexible power plants also allow customers to meet today's increasingly stringent air quality requirements. Furthermore, by employing a closed loop cooling system, Wartsila's engines do not consume process water or require significant wastewater treatment or disposal. This helps to address the growing concern over water supply in many areas of the USA.

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