Wärtsilä Energy Solutions is a leading global supplier of ultra-flexible power plants of up to 600 MW operating on various gaseous and liquid fuels. Our portfolio includes unique solutions for baseload, peaking, reserve and load-following power generation, as well as for balancing intermittent renewable energy. Wärtsilä Energy Solutions also provides LNG terminals and distribution systems. As of 2016, Wärtsilä has 60 GW of installed power plant capacity in 176 countries around the world.
Power at the push of a button
Smart Power Generation power plants can start in 30 seconds.
And ramp to full output in less than 5 minutes.
To keep the lights on in today’s power systems, flexible generation is imperative. Agile capacity is needed, for example, to shave peaks in electricity demand and to fill gaps of wind and solar output.
The fast-responging and efficient engines make Smart
Power Generation power plants suitable for various tasks:
The modular design of multiple cascading engines makes Smart Power Generation fuel efficient at any load.
Smart Power Generation plants can use any gaseous and liquid fuels, including biofuels. They can even switch from one fuel to another without stopping.
“Growth in Internal Combustion Engine
plants actually exceeds that of turbine-
IEA ENERGY TECHNOLOGY PERSPECTIVES 2014
In the old days operating the power grid was easy. The load curves were stable and predictable. This is now quickly changing, highlighting the need for fast-reacting capacity.
The real time prices in SPP are extremely volatile, including sudden sharp spikes. These events are short-lived, but they offer the golden window of opportunity to make money - if you are able to start and ramp up your asset fast enough.
Read more: Case SPP
The newly-enacted reform paves the way for private investment in the power generation secctor, and we at Wärtsilä believe that flexibility is the only way to build the power system of the future while at the same time decreasing the cost of electricity for consumers.
Read more: Energy Reform in Mexico
The “Irish Hedgehog” shows the output for thermal power plants if the target of doubling wind capacity is reached. Wind output is subtracted from demand. The baseload disappears and only sharp peaks are left for power plants.
Source: Power Supply Challenges - book
The "Duck Graph" shows what happens to the daily load curve of gas power plants in California with increasing solar PV capacity. On a sunny afternoon the duck’s belly deepens and less electricity is needed from power plants. But at dusk they must soar several GW’s in a very short time. To cope with the duck’s neck, extremely flexible generation is needed.
Read more: Power System Optimization By Increased Flexibility
The growth of wind power in the UK increases the need for operating reserve dramatically. Reserves are required to ensure a steady flow of electricity even with high shares of wind capacity. The scenario is for the year 2020.
Read more: Flexible Energy For Efficient And Cost Effective Integration Of Renewables In Power Systems
“Multi-fuel engines provide additional fuel
In addition to quick-starting generation, there are other means to increase the much-needed flexibility in power grids. Their potential appears to be small in comparison, though.
According to electric highway or super grid theory, excess wind and solar energy can be transported from one country to another according to demand. But satellite data shows that weather systems are often continent-wide. When it is windy in Spain, it is often windy in Germany too. This can be an obstacle for super grids.
To handle 2 GWh of the consumption peaks with stored electricity in California would require about 16,000 containerized battery sets – enough to cover 100 soccer fields. After 10 years the batteries would have to be replaced and handled as toxic waste. The example illustrates the scaling issue of energy storage.
Shaving peaks in electricity consumption with smart household appliances and other demand response technologies is said to be one solution for the flexibility challenge. However, these solutions seem to be capable of handling only a fraction of the demand peaks.
Source: ERCOT and FERC
Smart Power Generation plants can ramp to full power 50 per cent faster than traditional turbine solutions, but the real flexibility challenge is ramping up and down continuously. Due to lower temperatures, internal combustion engine plants are capable of doing even a continuous yo-yo movement without impact on maintenance.
Source: Wärtsilä and Northwest Power and Conservation Council
We have built dozens of gigawatts of flexible Smart Power Generation capacity around the world. In addition, we have years of experience developing modelling software and methods for analyzing the impact of flexibility in power systems.
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