Wärtsilä has agreed to provide 12 natural gas-fired engines for a new 225-MW power plant in Denton, Texas.
The Denton Energy Center, which will use 18-cylinder Wärtsilä gas-fired engines, will provide Denton Municipal Electric balancing power for a citywide system that will be getting 70 percent of its power from renewable resources by 2019.
The equipment included in the $111 million order will be delivered to Denton in the second half of 2017. The plant is expected to begin commercial production in July 2018.
In 2011, the City of Denton was recognized by the American Public Power Association with the Wind Power Award for getting 40 percent of its power from wind resources. The city later established a plan to get 70 percent of its power from renewable resources by 2019.
Reciprocating engines are becoming increasingly popular for utility-scale power projects. The intermittent nature of renewable generation, low-priced natural gas and advancements in engine technology and flexibility have given reciprocating engines new life in the U.S. as a competitive form of reliable generation.
Able to reach full power in just minutes, gas-engine power plants can offset sudden losses in wind and solar power, helping grid managers bring balance to the grid quickly.
“The ability of the plant to quickly start and stop is just one of the many reasons why we chose the Wärtsilä technology over gas turbines,” said Mike Grim, executive manager at Denton Municipal Electric. “In addition to enabling our growth in renewables, Wärtsilä can quickly deliver power generation with very low emissions, which is something that the citizens of Denton highly value.”