New LCEC power plant supplied by gas-fired Wartsila technology breaks ground in New Mexico

Source: Wartsila Corporation

Ground-breaking of the 46.7 megawatts (MW) Lea County Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LCEC) Generation Plant, located in Lovington, New Mexico, takes place today with a ceremony at the future plant site. The principal guests and main speakers will be U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce and State Senator Carroll Leavell. Additional speakers and attendees include Brian Elwell, Burns and McDonnell, Brian Hobbs, Western Farmers Electric Cooperative, Inc, Gary Hurse, LCEC, and Wayne Elmore, Wartsila, as well as senior representatives of Wartsila. Wartsila is the supplier of the power plant and a leading global supplier of flexible power plants and services to the global power generation market. 

Wartsila's scope of supply to the plant will include five Wartsila 20V34SG generating sets running on natural gas, together with associated equipment including Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) units for reducing greenhouse gas and nitrogen oxides (NOX) emissions. The electricity produced by the plant will be supplied to the LCEC Members and the Southwest Power Pool. Furthermore, the Wartsila engines are sized to accommodate for future output increase with minor modifications. Wartsila's generating set operation will be closely integrated with the operation of the wind farm being constructed nearby the site. 

"I believe the most amazing thing about the development of the LCEC Wartsila Generation project is the ability for a distribution cooperative to have the vision to look to the future in developing a project that provides the integration of renewable energy technology. Certainly in my mind, this is providing the footprint for development of renewable energy in the future," says Gary Hurse, General Manager, LCEC. 

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. 

"Wartsila is honored to participate in the ceremony and we are pleased the project is proceeding on schedule with Wartsila equipment ready to ship as required by the customer," comments Dennis Finn, Business Development Manager, Wartsila Power Plants in North America. 

"The LCEC project is the fifth such cooperative to select our power generating solution due to our capacity to reach full plant output within five minutes from warm stand-by mode. 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," he adds. 

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

Wartsila's flexible power plants - a superior alternative 

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. 

The LCEC Generation Plant is scheduled to be fully operational by June 2012.

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