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Wärtsilä gas engines help Modesto (CA) meet state environmental targets

Modesto Irrigation District (MID) recently commissioned a new flexible, fast-start peaking plant in Modesto, California, to help it meet California’s mandated 33% renewable energy in its energy portfolio by 2020.

The Woodland 3 Generation Project gas power plant was commissioned and handed over by the Finland-based company for commercial operation to MID.

The 49.6 MW power plant has six generating sets, based on 20-cylinder Wärtsilä 34SG engines running on natural gas, which meet the stringent California state permit requirements. Wärtsilä was selected for this project because of the plant’s efficiency at part load, its fast-start flexibility and the low environmental impact. Wärtsilä’s flexible power plant features include the ability to reach full plant output in just five minutes, and to provide 25 percent power in two minutes.

“The modular nature of the Woodland 3 Plant allows MID to optimize the efficiency of our entire generation portfolio. The ability to quickly dispatch any or all of the six Wärtsilä units anywhere from 4 to 49 MW, allows the District’s remaining generating portfolio to be operated in a more efficient manner. We are very impressed with the fuel efficiency of the new plant across the entire operating range. With MID actively moving toward the California mandated renewable portfolio standard of 33 percent renewables by the year 2020, the added flexibility is critical. The Wärtsilä units will be the backstop for MID, helping us maintain reliable, dependable service to our customers even with the substantial influx of non-traditional, intermittent resources like wind and solar,” says Richard Smith, the Modesto Irrigation District’s Project Manager for the Woodland 3 Project.

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