Twin Peaking

20 December 2000

Wärtsilä North America Inc has made the first two sales of its gas fired generating set designed specifically for the lucrative gas fired peaking market. Marketed under the trade name ‘PeakingPlus’ the units are pre-engineered modular power systems available in blocks of 10 to 50 MW for plants up to 200 MW. The contracts were signed by officials from Paragould, Arkansas, and Kennett, Missouri.

The Paragould project, worth $10.3 milllion, is for the installation of three18V334SG units with18.4 MWe contracted output (19 MW at the generator terminals) with delivery by June 2001. Paragould citizens reputedly enjoy prices for energy the lowest in the state, and among the lowest in the union, and adding a peaking plant is expected to keep them that way, given the prices that peak power currently commands.

The second contract, which is worth $7.4 million and calls for the delivery of a two by 18V34SG unit, is with the Kennett Board of Public Works, which operates its own light, water and gas facilities. Like the Paragould community, it decided to sidestep the volatility of electricity pricing, in particular high summer peaking rates, and the resultant power interruptions, while simultaneously positioning itself to sell into that market.

The PeakingPlus unit, which was unveiled at PowerGen in October, is standardised in10 to 50 MW modularised sizes and is designed to be run, for maximum cost effectiveness, for up to 4000 hours a year. Operating costs are estimated at 3.5 to 4 cents per kW, and its higher efficiency, the result of low waste heat generation, allows it to be brought on line first among peak loading generators. It was developed following the successful completion of a contract with the city of Iola in Kansas, where a peak shaving plant was required to allow city officials to cap their power costs.

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