Wärtsilä to supply 21 MW propane power plant to U.S. Virgin Islands

Editor’s note: Islands are ideal applications for wind generated electrical power. With the purchase of the Wartsila plant, reported on here, the islands will have the facility to accommodate the variable nature of wind power. Hence, it’s time to build some turbines.   

The technology group Wärtsilä will supply a 21 MW Smart Power Generation power plant to the U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (USVI WAPA). The order includes three Wärtsilä 34SG-LPG engines running on propane gas. Wärtsilä’s scope covers the entire engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the project. The power plant will be located on the island of St. Thomas and is expected to be operational in early 2018. The order is booked for the first quarter of 2017.

When completed, the 21 MW, propane-fired Wärtsilä power plant in the U.S. Virgin Islands will look something like this. 

As is the case with most Caribbean islands, the USVI has no domestic fossil energy resources and relies on imports of petroleum products to meet its energy needs. In order to diversify its fuel sources, the USVI’s electric utility WAPA is completing an energy infrastructure modernization program, the largest such project in the Caribbean. This will enable the use of propane gas as a primary fuel for energy production, thereby significantly reducing the cost of electricity, and the dependence and environmental impact of diesel oil.

This will be Wärtsilä’s first power plant in the USVI and the third propane-fired power plant delivered by Wärtsilä. It will provide baseload, peaking and balancing power for the St. Thomas electric system. The plant will be built to comply with the strict Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emission regulations applicable in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“The Wärtsilä generating units will be critical to the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority’s ability to maximize the full potential of its recent conversion from fuel oil to LPG as the primary fuel source. The Wärtsilä power plant will be a cornerstone in providing not only reliable and highly efficient power generation, but in making more affordable electricity available to our customers,” says WAPA Executive Director and CEO Julio A. Rhymer, Sr.

“This contract demonstrates that our propane-fired solutions delivered on a fast-track, EPC basis are valued by our customers”, says Edmund Phillips, Business Development Manager at Wärtsilä Energy Solutions. “The efficiency of these engines offers significant benefits. In addition, the quick start-up time and operational flexibility of these Wärtsilä units will support the future integration of renewable energy sources on the island,” continues Phillips.

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