Editor’s note: This magazine has long recognized the complimentary nature and advocated for close cooperation between natural gas and wind power producers. The two sources work well together because natural gas generators, such as the one below, can easily power up and down to accommodate production from wind power, of which Michigan has a good share.
Wärtsilä will supply a 50 MW Smart Power Generation power plant to t Marquette Board of Light and Power in Michigan. The contract includes three Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel engines running primarily on natural gas, with light fuel oil as back-up. The equipment will be delivered in the autumn of 2016 and the plant is scheduled to be fully operational in early 2017.
“We have a reliability problem due to aging coal units, no firm transmission service, and the closure of a 400 MW power plant. Wärtsilä’s solution is reliable, efficient, flexible in fuel choice, and is also environmentally sustainable. It will support our compliance with upcoming CO2 regulations,” says Paul Kitti, the Executive Director of the utility.
Marquette is at the far end of the electricity grid, and the ability to import power to the area is limited. According to Paul Kitti, the black start capability and instant ramping of the Wärtsilä units will be a highly appreciated aid in keeping the lights on around the year – especially during the winter when temperatures can drop to –40 Celsius.
In addition, the power plant will serve as a new source of income for MBLP. “Thanks to the ability to bring up the Smart Power Generation plant in less than 5 minutes, we will be able to follow spikes in the electricity price and sell power to the grid”, says Kitti. MBLP is a municipal electric utility serving approximately 17,000 customers in Marquette county in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
“This technology provides the most efficient, reliable, and flexible production of electricity available in the industry today. This asset will generate tremendous cost savings and benefits to the Marquette community for decades”, says Gary Groninger, Business Development Manager at Wärtsilä.
Wärtsilä’s installed power generation base in the United States is approximately 4,600 MW and globally, 58 GW.
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