Cooperative Energy selects new Wärtsilä 31SG engine for power generation

Editor’s note: Gas fired internal combustion engines driving generators, like the units described, here can start quickly and then run at different speeds to follow the demand on the grid. This means they work well with the variable nature of wind-generated power. 

The technology group Wärtsilä will deliver a 22.7 MW Smart Power Generation plant under a full Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) contract to Cooperative Energy, a member-owned electric cooperative based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The project will consist of two gas-fired Wärtsilä 31SG engines, the first order for the world’s most efficient gas engine. The plant located in Benndale, Miss., will provide valuable grid support for renewable integration for the Cooperative Energy system as well as reliability during potential transmission outages caused by hurricanes or other severe weather conditions. The order with Wärtsilä was booked in December 2017.

The 11,400 kW (@60Hz) 20-cylinder Wärtsilä 31SG is the world’s most efficient 4-stroke natural gas engine.

The selection of the Smart Power Generation solution is advantageous as Cooperative Energy is in the process of installing increasing levels of renewable generation, notably new solar generation into their network. The new Wärtsilä 31SG engine solution will provide the required flexibility for renewable integration. The plant will replace an existing gas turbine power plant.

“As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, our mission is to provide our members with electricity that is both reliable and economical,” said Jim Compton, Cooperative Energy president/CEO. “Wärtsilä’s Smart Power Generation plant, which is a great complement to our current generation sources, enables us to achieve this mission and as a result, we are proud to partner with Wärtsilä on this project.”

“Our track record in being a technology leader in power generation in 177 countries around the world, and in all types of climates and operating conditions, represents a clear indication of the value proposition Wärtsilä can deliver to the market. Cooperative Energy is a forerunner in delivering a modern and flexible electricity supply to its members. Wärtsilä is proud to be a partner in this,” said Mikael Backman, Regional Director, US & Canada, Wärtsilä Energy Solutions.

The equipment will be delivered to the site in 2018, and commercial operations are expected to commence in 2019.

Wärtsilä currently has an installed base of more than 3,400 MW in the USA, while its global installed base exceeds 65 GW in 177 countries.

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