The technology group Wärtsilä will supply the generating capacity for a new balancing power plant being built in the U.S.A. The Pioneer Generation Station Phase IV power plant project is located in North Dakota and will provide Basin Electric Power Cooperative with the flexible gas generation needed to balance the inherent variability of energy from renewable sources, notably wind and solar. This balancing capability will enable Basin Electric to expand its generation to ensure reliable, affordable and responsible power to its membership. The order was booked in Wärtsilä’s order intake in October 2022.
The plant will operate with six Wärtsilä 50SG gas engines having a combined net output of 108 MW. The fast-starting and stopping ability of Wärtsilä’s engine technology allows full output to be reached in just minutes, thus ensuring a stable and reliable electricity supply regardless of the weather conditions.
The Wärtsilä equipment is scheduled for delivery in the beginning of 2024, and the plant is expected to become fully operational by the summer of 2025.
“The Pioneer Generation Station Phase IV power plant project will serve the growing needs of the cooperative’s members with reliable, affordable, and responsible electricity. Load forecasts show member cooperatives will require more electricity by 2025,” said Todd Telesz, Basin Electric CEO and General Manager.
“Basin Electric knows our engines from before, and we are pleased to be working again with this advanced cooperative. In addition to their grid balancing capabilities, one of the many benefits of our gas engine solutions is that they require a relatively low gas pressure to sustain full rated capacity. Unlike high-pressure alternatives that require a gas pressure of 20 to 60 bar (300 to 900 psi), our engines need only 6 to 12 bar (90 to 180 psi). This helps to ensure supply reliability at all times,” added Jon Rodriguez, Director, Engine Power Plants, North America, Wärtsilä Energy.
Reciprocating engine power plants based on internal combustion engine technology are being increasingly deployed in the United States to balance renewables. Flexible technologies, such as grid balancing power plants and energy storage, also offer a sustainable means for decarbonising energy production by allowing higher renewable production by reducing the need to curtail those resources.
Basin Electric Power Cooperative is a generation and transmission cooperative owned by 131 member cooperative systems across nine states serving three million consumers. Basin Electric has earlier purchased Wärtsilä engines for another of its power generating facilities in North Dakota.
Wärtsilä has a major presence in the U.S.A. with offices in nine strategic locations. To date the company has an installed base of 3,800 MW in the country.