Energy technology group Wärtsilä is to add an energy storage solution to a power plant on the island of Roatan in Honduras.

The existing 28 MW plant operated by Caribbean utility RECO runs on a combination of four Wärtsilä propane gas-fired engines and solar PV and Wärtsilä will now install storage plus its proprietary GEMS energy management software solution which will control the utility’s energy system.

Wärtsilä said the addition of energy storage and the GEMS solution to RECO’s generation resources “will provide additional flexibility to integrate renewables into the local grid and secure reliability while eliminating the need for mechanical spinning reserve”.

The storage system will provide virtual spinning reserve capacity needed to maintain stability of the grid which is important for the energy security of an island. The solution will be delivered on a fast-track basis and is expected to be operational before the end of this year.

RECO Project Director Steve Cromeens said electricity demand continues to increase on the island and added that “by integrating energy storage to our already efficient engine power plant, we will be better placed to meet this demand and ensure grid stability”.

He said the energy storage system “will allow the further integration of intermittent and variable solar and wind resources into the existing system. Increased grid reliability and avoiding outages is an important factor for on-going and continued island investments.”

Risto Paldanius, Wärtsilä’s director of business development for Energy Storage and Optimisation, said the system “will allow more cost-effective and optimised operation of the existing thermal power plant, plus enable more renewable energy to be incorporated into the system”.

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