Editor’s note: Although fired by a fossil fuel, natural gas, this power plant can quickly cycle up and down, thereby accommodating wind-generated power, of which, Michigan has a good amount.
The technology group Wärtsilä has received a full notice to proceed with the delivery of the engines for two new power plants being built by an investor-owned utility in the USA. The order was originally announced in June 2017.
The plants are owned by Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corporation (UMERC), a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group one of the USA’s leading energy companies. The selection of the Wärtsilä smart power generation solution was made in order to accommodate a broad range of operating profiles for which flexibility is a prime requirement. The letter of intent was signed, and the order booked with Wärtsilä in May 2017, while the full notice to proceed was given in November.
The two power plants, located in the Negaunee and Baraga townships in Michigan, will have a combined output of 188 MW provided by a total of ten Wärtsilä 50SG engines running on natural gas fuel. The plants will serve some 40,000 residential consumers as well as a large mining operation, which creates various generation and balancing needs in the region. The fast-starting and responsive flexibility of the Wärtsilä solution was cited as being an important consideration in the award of this contract. Furthermore, by operating on clean-burning natural gas, the environmental impact of the two new plants will be minimized.
The Wärtsilä plants will replace an existing coal-fired power plant and are expected to provide baseload and intermittent power. Their ability to react rapidly to the fluctuating demand from the local operations was a critical factor for UMERC.
“Wärtsilä’s Smart Power Generation solution will enable efficiency to be maintained across a broad range of output. It requires limited use of water for cooling and the environmental footprint is small, plus the modularized solution means that additional capacity can easily be accommodated if needed,” said Mikael Backman, Regional Director, US & Canada, Wärtsilä Energy Solutions.
The Wärtsilä engines are scheduled for delivery in the latter half of 2018 and the plants are expected to come online in 2019.
Wärtsilä currently has an installed base of more than 3,000 MW in the USA, while its global installed base exceeds 65 GW in 177 countries.