New gas-fired power plant utilizes Wartsila engines to meet environmental targets

Source: Wartsila Corporation

The newly commissioned power plant located in Modesto, California, provides the community with the needed flexible, fast-start peaking generation to balance the expected increase in intermittent renewable generation resources. Modesto Irrigation District (MID) built the peaking plant to support their goal of meeting California's mandated 33 percent renewable energy in their generation portfolio by 2020. 

The Woodland 3 Generation Project gas power plant was commissioned and handed over for commercial operation to MID, the electric utility serving the communities Modesto, Salida, Empire, Waterford, Mountain House and parts of Escalon, Oakdale, Ripon and Riverbank in July, 2011. 

The 49.6 MW power plant has six generating sets, based on 20-cylinder Wartsila 34SG engines running on natural gas, which meet the stringent California state permit requirements. Wartsila was selected for this project because of the plant's efficiency at part load, its fast-start flexibility and the low environmental impact. 

"The modular nature of the Woodland 3 Plant allows MID to optimize the efficiency of our entire generation portfolio. The ability to quickly dispatch any or all of the six Wartsila units anywhere from 4 to 49 MW, allows the District's remaining generating portfolio to be operated in a more efficient manner. We are very impressed with the fuel efficiency of the new plant across the entire operating range. With MID actively moving toward the California mandated renewable portfolio standard of 33 percent renewables by the year 2020, the added flexibility is critical. The Wartsila units will be the backstop for MID, helping us maintain reliable, dependable service to our customers even with the substantial influx of non-traditional , intermittent resources like wind and solar," says Richard Smith, the Modesto Irrigation District's Project Manager for the Woodland 3 Project. 

A smart power generation solution
Wartsila's flexible power plant features include the ability to reach full plant output in just five minutes, and to provide 25 percent power in two minutes. The concept represents a multi-unit solution with the highest simple cycle efficiency available in the industry. It offers constant performance and rapid response, regardless of the state of the grid and the ambient conditions. Importantly, the lifecycle costs of the Wartsila power plants are extremely competitive. 

"This grid stability power plant project is an excellent example of Wartsila's ability to provide smart power generation solutions. 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 (operating 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," says Mark Harrer, Business Development Manager, Wartsila Power Plants in North America. 

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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