Project Update

Record-breaking gas engine plant IPP3 inaugurated in Jordan

The world’s largest internal combustion engine power plant has been inaugurated in Jordan.

The IPP3 project near Amman is powered by 38 Wärtsilä 50DF multi-fuel engines with a combined capacity of 573 MW.

In recognition of its world-record size, the plant has been accepted into the Guinness Book of Records. The ceremony was hosted by owner AAEPC (Amman Asia Electric Power Company) and was held under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein of Jordan.

Wärtsilä has been responsible for leading the engineering, procurement and construction consortium to deliver what is the largest Smart Power Generation plant in the Finnish company’s history.

IPP3 will be used for covering the sharp daily peaks of electricity demand in Jordan. Fast starting and the capability of ramping output up and down quickly and efficiently are key features of internal combustion engine technology.

“By starting one engine at a time, the plant can follow the demand very precisely,” said Taemin Kim, administration manager of AAEPC, who added: “It is a great pleasure to witness the inauguration. We are very proud of the world’s largest engine power plant.”

IPP3 and its sister plant, the 250 MW IPP4, have been in commercial operation since late last year. Wärtsilä said that according to data provided by Jordanian grid operator NEPCO, “their impact on the Jordanian power grid has been remarkable”.

Since the two engine plants have covered most of the peak demand, large gas turbine power plants in the grid have been released from this task. As a result, turbines now produce steady baseload, operating much more efficiently. This leads to significant savings in fuel, energy costs and CO2 emissions.

Upma Koul, business development manager at Wärtsilä, said: “This empirical evidence shows how our Smart Power Generation power plants can optimize entire power systems by providing much-needed flexibility. Using internal combustion engines for peak load and gas turbines for baseload is the perfect combination in improving overall efficiency of the grid.”

Fast-reacting backup capacity will also be needed to balance variable renewable power, as 600 MW of solar and 1200 MW of wind energy are expected to be installed in Jordan by 2020.

In addition to operational flexibility, IPP3 provides fuel flexibility. The tri-fuel plant can run on heavy fuel oil, light fuel oil and natural gas. Currently heavy fuel oil is used due to a shortage of natural gas.

The plant will start to use liquefied natural gas later this year, as soon as it becomes available. “The readiness to use different fuels was essential for us, and Wärtsilä’s engines are the optimal technology for this,” said Kim.

Wärtsilä wins double deal for fuel oil plants in Oman

Wärtsilä has secured orders to supply two of its Smart Power Generation power plants for the Rural Areas Electricity Company in Oman.

The plants will have a combined capacity of 104 MW and will operate in extreme conditions of up to 52oC.

Wärtsilä says that its internal combustion engines are suitable for the plants because they can “maintain high efficiency in extreme temperatures and their water consumption is negligible”.

The larger of the two power plants will be located on the island of Masirah on Oman’s east coast. The Masirah plant will consist of seven Wärtsilä 32 engines, having a combined output of 56 MW.

The other power plant will be located in Saih Al Khairat and will have six Wärtsilä 32 engines with a total output of 48 MW. Both units will be operated using light fuel oil and are scheduled to be operational in 2016.

Lars-Åke Kjell, regional director of Wärtsilä Power Plants, said the projects “support our strategy of providing reliable distributed capacity with Smart Power Generation technology”.

“They also illustrate our performance in hot and dry conditions,” he added.

Wärtsilä recently announced a 120 MW distributed power generation project in the Musandam governorate of Northern Oman and its total installed capacity in the Middle East is approximately 7000 MW.

Amrumbank West offshore wind farm produces first electricity

E.ON’s Amrumbank West offshore wind farm in the German North Sea has started producing power.

The electricity from the first of its 3.6 MW turbines flows to an offshore transformer and converter platform from which it is exported via a 85-km subsea cable, which comes ashore near Büsum, about 100 km northwest of Hamburg.

Amrumbank West is due to be completed in the autumn and it recently achieved another important milestone with the installation of the last of the foundations for its 80 turbine towers.

The service centre on Helgoland island, from which the operation and maintenance of the wind farm is monitored and managed, has also been completed. The building provides 35 workstations, storage space and a helicopter hangar nearby.

Nordex to build two wind farms in Pakistan

German renewables company Nordex is to build two wind farms in Pakistan.

It will deliver a total of 40 of its N100/2500 turbines (pictured) to the new wind farms in the province of Sindh.

Because of the high ambient temperature conditions at the sites, Nordex has created hot climate versions of the turbines which are designed to operate in temperatures of up to 45oC.

Construction is poised to begin on the projects and both are expected to go online in the summer of 2016.

After completion, Nordex will be providing service for the farms for a further 10 years.

The operators of the two projects are the independent power producers Yunus Energy and Metro Power.

Alstom wins contract extension for Sheringham Shoal wind project

Alstom has won a three-year service contract from Norwegian energy company Statkraft for the substations of the 317 MW Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm in the UK.

Located off the east coast of England, Sheringham Shoal consists of 88 wind turbines.

The contract awarded to Alstom is an extension of an existing one and covers emergency support as well as preventive maintenance for one onshore and two offshore substations serving the wind farm.

The scope of the maintenance contract includes disconnectors, 132 kV and 33 kV gas insulated switchgear, 132 kV and 33 kV 90 MVA transformers, a 132 kV 60 MVAr shunt reactor and substation automation, as well as telecommunications systems and protection. It also includes a 24/7 rapid response to the customer.

Toshiba wins combined cycle plant deal in Mexico

Toshiba has won an order to supply two sets of steam turbines and generators for the Norte III combined cycle power plant in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Toshiba will start delivery of the equipment from August 2016 and the plant is scheduled to come online a year later.

Norte III will be owned and operated by Spanish engineering company Abengoa, which is also the engineering, procurement and construction contractor.

Once built, the plant will be one of the largest in Mexico with a capacity of 925 MW.

Toshiba will supply two sets of 175 MW steam turbines and generators for the plant. Toshiba supplied similar equipment for Centro Morelos combined cycle plant in 2013, another Abengoa project in Mexico.

The challenge facing power providers in Mexico today is to reduce the price of electricity. With thermal power generation accounting for 70 per cent of total installed capacity in Mexico, demand for combined cycle gas turbine systems is expected to grow.

Technology Update

Online tool maps global geothermal power potential

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) have announced the launch of a free internet-based mapping tool that they say promises to increase development of gethermal power projects by decreasing risk for investors and governments.

Based on novel satellite gravity mapping techniques, the tool was developed to address the difficulty of measuring geothermal energy underground and eliminate costly, time-consuming and risky exploration, the agencies said.

“These maps can help make a strong business case for geothermal development where none existed before,” said Henning Wuester, Director of IRENA’s Knowledge, Policy and Finance Centre.

“In doing so, the tool provides a shortcut for lengthy and costly explorations and unlocks the potential of geothermal energy as a reliable and clean contribution to the world’s energy mix.”

The maps use the ESA’s satellite gravity measurements to look for certain characteristics unique to geothermal reservoirs, including areas with thin crusts, subduction zones and young magmatic activity. This helps determine which areas are most likely to possess geothermal potential, the agencies said.

“This is the first time that ESA’s global gravity data from the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer satellite has been used as a tool for geothermal energy site exploration,” said Volker Liebig, Director of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes. “ESA will continue its collaboration with IRENA to further improve space-based gravity data as a resource for sustainable energy development.”

The agencies said the tool is a first step towards developing a comprehensive geothermal prospecting technique. Future maps could be produced at finer scales, integrating satellite data with terrestrial datato improve the quality of the results, they added.

The latest geothermal maps are a part of the Global Atlas portal, a repository of maps detailing the global potential for renewable energy resources. The Atlas combines 1000 maps from 67 governments and 50 data centres, offering access to datasets, expertise and financial support to help countries evaluate their national renewable energy potentials. Currently, 67 countries and more than 50 institutes and partners contribute to the initiative, IRENA and the ESA noted.

Tesla announces energy storage system breakthrough

Tesla Motors chief executive Elon Musk has announced a Tesla Energy battery for households, businesses and utilities.

Telsa Energy was described by the company in a statement as “a suite of batteries for homes, businesses, and utilities fostering a clean energy ecosystem and helping wean the world off fossil fuels”.

“Tesla Energy is a critical step in this mission to enable zero-emission power generation.”

Musk made the official announcement onstage (pictured) at the company’s design studio in Hawthorne, California, saying that energy storage is needed to avert climate change-related disaster but existing batteries “suck”.

The “missing piece,” according to Musk, is Tesla’s suite of batteries.

The home battery, called the “Powerwall,” is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery designed to store energy at the residential level for load shifting, backup power and self-consumption of solar photovoltaic power generation.

“The unit mounts seamlessly on a wall and is integrated with the local grid to harness excess power and give customers the flexibility to draw energy from their own reserve,” Musk said.

The Powerwall is available in a 10 kWh installation, optimized for backup applications, or a 7 kWh system optimized for daily use. Both can be solar- or grid-connected and both offer backup power capability.

Tesla’s selling price to installers is $3500 for the 10 kWh system and $3000 for the 7 kWh system. (Price excludes inverter and installation.) Deliveries are set to begin in late summer, Musk said. In addition, Tesla plans to offer commercial-scale and utility-scale battery systems, to be called “Powerpacks”.

Musk said that with 160 million Powerpacks, the entire US could be transitioned to renewable energy.