Editor’s note: Power plants fueled by natural gas can be brought online and cycle up and down more quickly than can conventional plants, making this technology a near ideal match for the wind industry.
Technology group Wärtsilä and Southern Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop two flexible gas power plant projects, which could be as large as 450 MW each, in the USA. Southern Power will lead this project development effort and Wärtsilä will provide technical and commercial support. Wärtsilä and Southern Power would build the power plants jointly and Wärtsilä’s scope would be extended equipment supply.
Southern Power, a leading U.S. wholesale energy provider with over 12,600 MW of generating capacity, grows its wholesale business through the construction of generating assets substantially covered by long-term contracts. “Renewables are an important part of a diverse energy mix, and flexible generation complements the rapid growth of intermittent renewables,” said Southern Power President and CEO Buzz Miller. “This agreement is an early stage in a lengthy process, but we believe this technology could be an excellent solution for our customers, and for many others in the marketplace that we hope to serve through this relationship.”
“In the USA we are seeing a rapidly increasing demand for flexible generation and Wärtsilä provides the most efficient quick start solution for customers to balance their renewable portfolio and hedge their costs. We are excited to be teaming up with Southern Power, a leader in the development, installation, and operation of electric power facilities with a proven track record of operational reliability and safety,” said Javier Cavada, President at Wärtsilä Energy Solutions.
“The intention of Southern Power to invest in developing large projects with our flexible gas technology is a major milestone for our systematic market development in the USA. We will provide our full support to Southern Power for the project development, and hope that this cooperation will lead to more similar projects in the future,” said Jussi Heikkinen, Market Development Director at Wärtsilä North America Inc.
After contracts signed with the cities of Denton and Tallahassee over the past 12 months, Wärtsilä continues to grow its footprint in the USA. The current installed base, including projects under construction, is more than 3,000 MW. Globally, Wärtsilä’s installed power plant base is 63 GW in 176 countries.
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