Omaha Public Power securing Wärtsilä gas-fired engines to balance solar PV

Engine in engine hall of Sangachal gas power plant

Omaha Public Power District, a municipal power provider in Nebraska, has contracted Wärtsilä to supply natural gas-fired engines for a grid balancing plant.

The 156-MW multi-fuel engine power plant will be part of the municipal utility’s Power with Purpose project. Power with Purpose will incorporate up to 600 MW of solar photovoltaic generation, supported by fast-starting internal combustion engines to ensure system stability.

Wärtsilä will supply nine of its 18-cylinder 50DF engines operating on natural gas and light fuel oil as needed. Wärtsilä’s multi-fuel engine technology provides fuel resiliency with engines capable of burning natural gas, light fuel oil, and even hydrogen blends (up to 25 percent H2 currently and being adapted eventually for 100 percent carbon-free hydrogen).

 “We are excited to work together with Omaha Public Power District and support the continued journey towards net-zero carbon emissions and an increased share of renewables in their system,” Håkan Agnevall, President and CEO, Wärtsilä Corp., said in a statement. “This is yet another example of how we are enabling decarbonization and supporting our customers on their way to a renewable energy future.”

The new Standing Bear Lake Station plant will be located in Douglas County, Neb., and is expected to put into commercial operation by May 2023. Wärtsilä’s equipment will be delivered during the second half of 2022.

Omaha Public Power District’s goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 includes the addition of variable, renewable energy resources balanced by the use of Wärtsilä technology to provide reliability and resiliency.

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(Rod Walton is content director for Power Engineering, POWERGEN International and the online POWERGEN+ series. He is a 13-year veteran of covering the energy industry both as a longtime newspaper journalist and trade publication editor. Walton can be reached at 918-831-9177 and rod.walton@clarionevents.com).

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