Wärtsilä to supply Clearway with 500 MW/2 GWh of energy storage for projects in California and Hawaii


Wärtsilä has reached an agreement with Clearway Energy Group on a contract that will see it supply Clearway with a 500 MW/2 GWh portfolio of energy storage systems. The storage systems will be used across a series of solar and storage projects that Clearway is developing in California and Hawaii. The five-project portfolio includes 75 MWac/300 MWh located in Hawaii and 415 MW/1.7 GW in California. For more read: Wärtsilä to supply Clearway with 500 MW/2 GWh of energy storage for projects in California and Hawaii.

Key Takeaways:

  • In Hawaii, Clearway is developing the Mililani I Solar and Waiawa Solar Power facilities on the Island of Oahu and represent Wärtsilä’s first large-scale energy storage systems in the state. 
  • The addition of energy storage will help Clearway Energy Group ensure reliable delivery of sustainable energy and contribute to Hawaii’s goal of reaching 100% renewable energy generation by 2045.
  • In California, 482 MW of solar and 275 MW/1.1 GWh of energy storage are being split across the Daggett 2 and Daggett 3 projects, which are being developed in San Bernardino, California, adjacent to the site of a retired coal and natural gas plant.
  • The storage systems will deliver renewable energy during increasingly volatile peak periods and help the state reach its goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045.
  • Each facility will include Wärtsilä’s GridSolv Quantum, a fully integrated, modular and compact energy storage system, as well as the GEMS Digital Energy Platform, Wärtsilä’s energy management platform for power system optimisation. 

Path to 100% Perspective

To achieve goals of both reliable and renewable energy, it is critical to think beyond solar panels and wind turbines. The addition of storage technologies is essential because both wind and solar technology is dependent on the weather. The storage system is one way to ensure there is enough power when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. To take it one step further, power producers should also invest in flexible engines, capable of starting and stopping when needed to ensure a reliable energy supply.


Much-Watched Reciprocating Engine Hydrogen Pilot Kicks Off at Michigan Power Plant


A landmark project to test fuel blends of up to 25% volume of hydrogen mixed with natural gas in reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICEs) has launched at WEC Energy Group’s 56-MW A.J. Mihm power plant in Michigan. If successful, the pilot—one of the first of its kind in the U.S.—could provide key insight into how hydrogen combustion at RICE units could be replicated across the U.S. You can read more here: Much-Watched Reciprocating Engine Hydrogen Pilot Kicks Off at Michigan Power Plant.

Key Takeaways:

  • A consortium comprising Finnish technology giant Wärtsilä, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and Burns & McDonnell on May 30 unveiled a contract with Milwaukee-based WEC Energy’s subsidiary Upper Michigan Energy Resources for the fuel testing pilot.
  • One of the plant’s three18.8-MW Wärtsilä W18V50SG natural gas-fired engines wil be used in the testing and will continue to supply power to the grid as the hydrogen share in its fuel mix is gradually increased to a maximum of 25% by volume.
  • Wärtsilä has researched hydrogen as a fuel for 20 years as part of its strategy to “future-proof its engine technology in line with the global trend towards decarbonization of the energy and marine markets.”
  • The project could help establish RICEs as a future-proof technology, allowing for the flexibility needed to incorporate more renewable energy sources onto the grid. Its ability to provide incremental electricity quickly—starting up even when the grid has no power—and operating at partial loads, give it a key advantage over more traditional power plants.

Path to 100% Perspective:

Both flexibility and reliability will be crucial as we transition to a clean energy future. Just adding wind and solar generated power will not be enough. Those renewable sources, while powerful and cost-efficient, are also dependent on the weather conditions. RICE, along with adequate storage solutions, appears to offer the ideal solution to ensure stability to the grid. 


A 100% Renewable Energy Future Is Possible, & We Need It


A transition to renewable energy is not just one of the most consequential tools at our fingertips to act on climate, but also represents a great opportunity to increase control over our energy choices, improve the health of our communities and the planet, create jobs and wealth, and much more. For more read A 100% Renewable Energy Future Is Possible, & We Need It.

Key Takeaways:

  • A new study called On the Road to 100 Percent Renewables examined how two dozen state members of the U.S. Climate Alliance (USCA) can meet all of their electricity needs with renewable energy — while decarbonizing other sectors of the economy and ensuring equitable benefits to all communities.
  • Using the Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) electricity model from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the study found that coal generation in member states essentially disappears by 2040 in USCA states as solar and wind generation grows exponentially.
  • The model found that the US would be about 73% renewable by 2040 because fossil fuel plants will still exist in other states and the power grid is so interconnected that generation is shared across state lines.

Path to 100% Perspective:

The Path to 100% is working to identify the fastest, most cost-effective, most reliable ways to decarbonize electricity — not just city by city, but across entire states and nations. As the article states, increasing the reliance on renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, will be critical to success. We must also determine a plan to realistically phase out fossil fuel plants which provide more consistent, reliable power around the clock. Renewable sources can be intermittent, so battery technology will need to improve and we will need to build flexible power plants that can run on sustainable fuels like hydrogen. The path will not be the same everywhere and the timeline may vary, but a 100% renewable energy future in the United States is possible by 2050 if everyone works together.

Wärtsilä to provide O&M services for 130MW power plant in Senegal


Wärtsilä recently signed a 10-year service agreement with Mailicounda Power SAS of Senegal in order to strengthen the power plant and secure supply to Senegal’s grid. The $167 million Malicounda Power project is being developed by a consortium of partners, including Africa50, Senegalese utility Senelec and local developer Melec PowerGen. To learn more read, “Wärtsilä to provide O&M services for 130MW power plant in Senegal.

Key Takeaways:

  • Malicounda will deploy the Flexicycle power plant which will operate with seven Wärtsilä 50 engines. The plant will be able to operate in simple cycle or combined cycle modes.
    • Wärtsilä will also provide scheduled maintenance and spare parts, as well as heat rate and power output guarantees after major overhauls.
  • Wärtsilä will provide Malicounda Power SAS with remote support from its Expertise Centre, supported by a digital predictive maintenance tool using artificial intelligence and advanced diagnostics to monitor equipment and systems in real-time.
  • The plant is expected to increase generating capacity in Senegal by about 17%, while reducing generation costs by about 14%.

Path to 100% Perspective:

Wärtsila’s project serves to bolster ambitious decarbonization goals with its new technologies and equipment that make power plants more efficient, flexible, and environmentally-friendly. Wärtsilä uses AI and equipment expertise to enhance the safety, reliability, and efficiency of power equipment and systems. AI and machine learning will play increasingly important roles in future power generation, especially as more communities and organizations come to rely on smart grids and renewable fuels for their electricity needs.

Wärtsilä has set a goal of 2030 to be carbon neutral in its own operations and to provide a product portfolio which will be ready for zero carbon fuels. These are the examples that will encourage other businesses and industries to embark on their own decarbonization journeys.


Renewable Energy Provided 24% Of US Electricity In December


In December of 2021, renewable energy sources accounted for nearly 24% of electricity generation across the U.S. Wind energy accounted for 11.9(, and solar accounted for 2.7%. These stats are an increase in comparison with previous years’ data, revealing that the new solar and wind power capacity does lead to noticeable increases in electricity generation from renewable sources. To learn more, read, Renewable Energy Provided 24% Of US Electricity In December.”

Key Takeaways:

    • The U.S. grid is vast, and power plants have lifespan longevity – therefore even 100% of new power capacity from renewable power plants results in a modest increase in the energy share’s electricity supply.
    • In December 2019 and December 2020, both nuclear and coal produced more electricity than renewable energy sources. 
      • In December 2021, renewables had passed both of them up and had a solid lead — 23.8% of electricity compared to 20.6% from nuclear power plants and 17.5% from coal power plants.
    • Renewables accounted for 21% of US electricity in 2021, up from 18.3% in 2019 and 20.3% in 2020.
      • Solar and wind account for the majority of that piece of the pie, 13% of all US electricity production in 2021, up from 9.7% in 2019 and 11.6% in 2020.

Path to 100% Perspective:

The U.S. is a global leader in renewable energy with the second largest installed capacity in the world. Total private sector investment in renewable energy reached a record USD $55.5 billion in 2019, an increase of 28% year on year. Current market trends show the energy landscape is in transition towards more flexible energy systems with a rapidly increasing share of renewable energy, declining inflexible baseload generation and wider applications of storage technology. The declining costs of renewables have begun to reduce new investments into coal and other inflexible baseload technologies; a transition which will eventually cause renewables to become the new baseload.

Federal government support for clean energy has been significantly reduced in recent years, with federal energy initiatives primarily being focused on the fossil fuel sector. However, given the scale and depth of its energy market, the U.S. has the economic and technological potential to scale-up renewable energy at an unprecedented rate.


Navigating the evolving state of the storage industry


At-a-Glance: Wärtsilä’s Vice President of Energy Storage and Optimization, Andy Tang, details that the energy storage industry is in its infancy of a global pricing reset which will impact deployments for years to come. Yet, there are solutions that can help energy providers navigate the dynamics of the shifting market. To learn more, read, “Navigating the evolving state of the storage industry.”


Key Takeaways:

  • A decade-long cost decline has driven battery adoption, making the United States the largest market for stationary storage in the world.
    • Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that annual demand for lithium-ion batteries will surpass 2.7 terawatt-hours by 2030.
  • The solar industry is dealing with similar industry-wide supply chain constraints that have caused the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) to lower their 2022 forecasts by as much as 25 percent.
  • Integrators will need to do their part to set transparent and reasonable expectations on cost structure and timelines with offtakers.
  • Leveraging weather, use-case, historical system performance and battery data, energy management software can forecast how much power an adjoining plant will produce and take advantage of and balance for price variations, among other insights.

Path to 100% Perspective:

Energy providers are now tasked with navigating the most efficient energy storage deployment tactics in the midst of the industry’s global pricing reset. Battery storage remains a competitive and popular storage option among today’s power system technologies. However, what can utilities and grid operators expect batteries to cost in the coming decades and how will this technology likely evolve to meet market needs in the future?

Short-duration and long-duration energy storage are both necessary in future power systems and they each have different roles. Long-duration storage has been the missing piece of the decarbonization puzzle – it is crucial to manage variability in supply and demand to manage the industry’s pricing shift. 


Wärtsilä to optimize and decarbonise gold mine power station in Suriname, South America


Wärtsilä has contracted with a gold mining company in Suriname to build a 7.8 MW energy storage system to help the company achieve its climate targets and decarbonizations goals. This is the first utility-scale energy storage system to be built in Suriname and Wärtsilä’s first energy storage project in the country. To learn more read: Wärtsilä to optimise and decarbonise gold mine power station in Suriname, South America

Key Takeaways

  • The integrated energy storage system will improve efficiency at the gold mine’s power station by reducing the need for emergency back-up spinning reserve, therefore lowering fuel consumption. 
  • The project is estimated to reduce the mine’s emissions by 5,600 metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year. This optimized energy system will extend to improvements across the lifetime of the engines and reduce operation and maintenance costs.
  • The GEMS Digital Energy Platform, Wärtsilä’s advanced energy management system, will control and optimize energy storage and evaluate opportunities to integrate renewable energy assets at the facility to further decarbonise mining operations, further reduce operations costs and provide clean electricity to surrounding communities.

Path to 100% Perspective:

Energy storage simply means capturing produced energy and saving it for later. It is becoming more and more important as we turn to more renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, because they cannot produce a continuous supply of energy around the clock. Being able to store that energy is a key element to reliable, 100% renewable power in the future.

By installing this technology now, the mining company will see improved reliability, efficiency and sustainability. The company is also future-proofing its investments in a changing energy market.


Security of supply an important factor in Puerto Rico’s ambitious path to decarbonization

By: Jussi Heikkinen

The Biden administration and Puerto Rico have joined together to launch an ambitious, collective effort to accelerate the growth of renewable energy resources and strengthen the island’s grid – promising 2022 will be “a year of action” in the transition to 100% clean energy over the next three decades.

The partnership involves three U.S. federal agencies – the Department of Energy, the Departments of Homeland Security and Housing and Urban Development to partner with the government of Puerto Rico. The group will complete a two-year study of how the island can reach 100% renewables by 2050, and meet a variety of interim targets along the way. The study, “Puerto Rico Grid Resilience and Transitions to 100% Renewable Energy” (PR100), is expected to be complete in December 2023. The plan addresses a rapid addition of renewables, mainly solar, as well as battery storage advancements.

Last year, I outlined Puerto Rico’s optimal path to decarbonization in an effort to find the optimum way to reach net zero targets, serve the load without black-outs, and provide the lowest cost for the rate payers.

The pace of adding renewables in the new Puerto Rico national plan correlates closely with Wartsila’s former outline – so does the quantity of their proposed battery storage. To ensure efficient utilization of the rapidly growing fleet of renewables, the thermal fleet needs to be modified as well. The key in the path is to make the system flexible enough to enable the addition of large amounts of variable renewables.

A crucial element in getting rid of large quantities of carbon emissions is retiring of the old high-emitting, inflexible coal power plants by 2028. Adding more solar and wind power plants, and battery storage, is the way to go. But in order to do this while maintaining security of supply, the system must have constantly adequate firm power capacity. Firm capacity means 1) available at all times, and 2) can operate as long as necessary. This capacity needs to be highly efficient and flexible – it will need to start and stop hundreds of times every year to enable efficient utilization of renewable energy. As the national plan is to close down thermal plants, the Wärtsilä study shows an obvious risk for rapidly increasing curtailment of solar power, repeated security of supply issues, and even black-outs.

To stay on the optimal decarbonization path and to avoid major curtailment of solar, 450 MW of new flexible gas power plants need to be installed by 2023, followed by another 350 MW in 2028. These plants do not run continuously, but they maintain security of supply, mitigate major overbuild of solar and battery storage, and in turn, save big money. They also enable retirement all of the older thermal power plants latest by 2038, according to plan.

Later on, when the island is ready, the flexible plants will be converted to use green-hydrogen based fuels like hydrogen, ammonia, methanol or methane. This will serve as the final step of the decarbonization in Puerto Rico.

To read the press release on the development in Puerto Rico, visit here.

A 100% carbon neutral power system is realistically achievable for Chile by 2050, or even sooner, according to Wärtsilä white paper

Chile has set an ambitious goal to decarbonize the country’s electricity generation by 2050, one of the most ambitious decarbonization targets in the world. But how will the country reach its goals? 

A recent Wärtsilä white paper, “Chile Leading the World to a 100% Zero Carbon Power System” presents the optimal path for decarbonization in Chile which reaches the country’s carbon reduction targets, serves the load without black-outs, and provides the lowest cost for the rate payers. The study utilizes power system expansion modelling software Plexos to create a timeline of necessary changes to achieve its goals while maintaining a secure supply and managing costs. 

According to the white paper, Chile’s remarkable renewable resources coupled with its already proven power generation and storage technologies provide it with the basis to be a leader in solving the decarbonization puzzle. Leaders next need a well-structured and realistic plan to reach its goal and avoid mistakes made by other countries who may have moved too quickly towards decarbonization.

The key to success is using modern power system expansion software and supercomputers to create a proper power system transition plan. According to the white paper, Chile should be taking that step now, along with setting policies to make the transition possible. 

“In order to continue the incorporation of renewable energy, it is vital that Chile develops the policy and regulatory framework to incentivize the necessary investments in storage and gas-fired flexible generation during the early parts of this decade” according to the white paper, although the study does not make any specific recommendations on those types of changes.

Just increasing wind and solar power generation won’t be enough. To succeed, investments must be made in battery storage capacity and in flexible gas power plants to compensate when the renewable energy sources aren’t generating enough power to serve the load. 

The white paper states that the price of solar and battery storage technologies are declining and should be economically viable by 2026. 

The flexible fuel plants won’t cover the base load, but have the capacity to come online quickly as needed and with minimal carbon emissions, giving them the advantage over traditional fossil fuel plants that must remain in operation continuously. Such plants must also have the capability to convert to sustainable fuels in the future.

“During this period the incorporation of storage and flexible gas generation into the Chilean system enables further retirements of coal and diesel oil plants, and greater additions of wind and solar PV. Thereby decarbonization can continue, less coal is burned, and carbon levels begin to fall drastically,” according to the white paper.

By following this plan, Chile should be able to retire its last coal and diesel oil plants by 2030, reducing carbon emissions drastically and relying on renewables for 90% of its energy needs. By then, only the new flexible gas power plants and the few remaining legacy gas-fired power plants will still be using fuel.

Components of a 100% carbon neutral power system

The final step in decarbonizing Chile’s electricity is to convert the flexible gas power plants to operate on green hydrogen based sustainable fuels. These fuels can be produced using excess wind and solar generation, stored, and used to produce power when the renewable sources aren’t generating enough power for extended periods of time, like during a major weather event.

“The cost of electricity generation will remain steady throughout this decade due to heavy investment costs, but contrary to many beliefs, the electricity costs for the rate payers will not increase – they will remain stable during the next 10 years and after 2030 they will be gradually reduced by 39%. Clean power does not have to be expensive!” according to the white paper.

You can read the entire white paper here.

Photo by Bailey Hall on Unsplash

#PathTalks: Energy transition in Central America and the Caribbean

The renewable energy transition is complex, but it is possible, practical and affordable.

#PathTalks‘ Host Fernanda Castro speaks with Business Development Manager, Energy Solutions, Central America & Caribbean for Wärtsilä, Francisco Picasso about the energy transition and excitement around renewable fuels, energy storage and progress being made around renewable energy in Central America.


#PathTalks: Chile moving towards a future of 100% renewable energy

Chile has one of the most ambitious decarbonization plans in the world, targeting carbon neutral electricity in 2050. This South American country is already at a 70% renewable energy share with some of the world’s best wind and solar resources available. It is possible to retire coal in Chile before 2030 and to reach a 100% carbon neutral power system before 2050.

#PathTalks host Fernanda Castro speaks with Wärtsilä Chile General Manager, Alejandro McDonough about the updated study “Towards a Future of 100% Renewable Energies” and what it could mean in accelerating the energy transition in Chile.

The study indicates that although competitive renewable energy and battery storage are available, the missing piece of the puzzle is long-term energy storage, which has the role of ensuring proper system function and reliability even during longer usual weather patterns such as drought, extreme heat or cold waves, cloud cover and rain, low wind periods as well as low solar seasons such as winter.

This video is in Spanish, but includes English subtitles.

#PathTalks: Developments and challenges of decarbonization in Brazil

#PathTalk Host Fernanda Castro chats with Wärtsilä AMER Region South Energy Business Director Jorge Alcaide and Wärtsilä Senior Manager, Project Development Gabriel Cavados about the opportunities and challenges of Brazil’s energy transition to decarbonization.

Want to know more about energy transition in Brazil? Join Jorge, Gabriel and industry experts to discuss ways to balance the electrical system with large renewable share.

This video is in Portuguese, but it includes English subtitles.