The technology group Wärtsilä will supply six flexible power plants operating on natural gas, with a total combined output of 380 MW to different locations in Italy. The framework agreement contract was placed by Metaenergiaproduzione S.R.L, a member of the Italian Metaenergia Group, with the order for two plants being booked prior to 2020, and the remaining four in Q4 2020. Execution of the project was started in June 2021.
“The new fast-starting plants are needed to provide flexible system balancing as Italy strives to incorporate more renewable energy, in line with its 2030 national energy, climate and decarbonisation plan. The mechanism for ensuring system stability when the share of fluctuating solar and wind power increases is Italy’s Capacity Market, which will commence during 2022. Under this protocol, Terna, the national transmission system operator (TSO) ensures system stability via long-term power supply contracts. Electricity producers undertake to deliver energy when ‘called to produce’,” says Constantin von Wasserschleben, Chairman of the international asset management IKAV Group, a significant owner of the project company.
The six Wärtsilä power plants are scheduled to be completed by June 2022, just in time for the commencement of the new capacity market. Five of the plants, to be installed in Gorizia, Piombino, Sulmona, Cassino and Melfi, will be delivered and installed by Wärtsilä on an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) basis. The sixth plant, to be installed in Castellanza, will be supplied by Wärtsilä as an engineering and equipment (EEQ) delivery. The plants will be powered by a total of 18 Wärtsilä 50SG and 4 Wärtsilä 31SG gas-fuelled engines and are designed to comply with the most stringent environmental regulations set by the European Union.
“Metaenergia is committed to protecting the environment through careful energy consumption and the greater use of energy from renewable sources. We are, therefore, pleased to participate in the capacity market, for which we need the flexibility to respond quickly to changing demand. Wärtsilä’s engine technology provides this flexibility, and with very high efficiency,” says Constantin von Wasserschleben.
Sushil Purohit, President, Wärtsilä Energy and Executive Vice President, adds, “This framework agreement is a prime example of the rapid transition towards a renewable energy future that is taking place throughout the energy sector. Fast starting and stopping capability is essential to provide effective system balancing when increased levels of solar and wind power, which are inherently variable in their supply, are introduced. Wärtsilä’s thermal balancing solutions enable the shift to renewables, with flexible and affordable energy for our customers, and help Italy in its journey toward a more sustainable energy system.”
Wärtsilä gas power plants operate on natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel available. They feature high efficiency at any load, providing plant efficiency levels of up to 50% in simple cycle, and up to 54% in combined cycle mode. Their unmatched flexibility is highlighted by the fact that they can reach full output power within minutes of the start signal, which is an essential benefit in systems that wish to integrate higher levels of renewable energy.
Wärtsilä has delivered 1,411 MW of power plant capacity to Italy, of which 709 MW are today covered by Wärtsilä long-term service agreements. Wärtsilä has a delivery centre in Trieste, and service offices in Genoa, Naples and Taranto.