The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) will build a new peaker power plant in Caldwell County, Texas. Expected to be operational in 2025, the new natural gas power plant will provide about 190 MW of dispatchable power to the Texas grid. The plant will include 10 Wärtsilä 50SG reciprocating engines. Each engine will provide about 19 MW of power.
The Wärtsilä 50SG is a four-stroke, spark-ignited gas engine generating set that runs on natural gas, biogas, synthetic methanol, and is capable of hydrogen blending.
“This new dispatchable peaker power plant with Wärtsilä technology will support the Texas power grid within minutes,” said Randa Stephenson, LCRA chief commercial officer. “We sometimes need more power that can be available quickly, depending on market conditions and demand. We believe Wärtsilä’s technology, experience, and technical know-how will be a good match with our plans to provide reliable, cost-effective power to our customers and the Texas power grid.”
A peaker plant is typically used for brief periods during times when the demand for power approaches or surpasses the amount of power available. This plant, like other peakers, is not designed to run around the clock. Instead, its high-efficiency engines will allow it to produce power needed within minutes.
“The energy sector is in the midst of a rapid transformation where flexibility is becoming all important. The situation in Texas clearly reflects these changes, with sharply rising demand being served by an aging fleet of inflexible power plants,” said Risto Paldanius, vice president of Americas at Wärtsilä Energy. “Grid balancing is also needed in order to respond to increasing inputs of energy from renewable sources, and Wärtsilä technology provides this.
The new plant will be LCRA’s second peaker plant. The first is a 184-MW natural gas-fired facility in Fayette County, Texas, that was built in 2010.
“The new plant furthers our commitment to providing power to Texans,” said LCRA General Manager Phil Wilson. “Thousands of people are moving to our state every week, and I’m proud LCRA is continuing to develop new sources of power to help support our state’s dynamic growth.”