Finnish energy generation equipment company Wärtsilä has announced that it is proceeding with the construction of a 200MW flexible baseload power plant in Colombia, despite the challenges brought by COVID-19.
The €100 million ($118.9 million) project is being built in the Colombian province of Córdoba.
Wärtsilä won the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the project from Termotesorito in June 2020.
Termotesorito is a joint-venture enterprise between private utility companies Celsia and Proelectrica, and the natural gas provider Canacol.
Wärtsilä is installing some eleven 50SG engines which will be fuelled by natural gas from nearby gas wells.
When operational, the flexibility of the fast-starting power plant will provide critical grid balancing capability as Colombia incorporates increasing levels of intermittent energy from renewable sources, such as solar and wind. It will also provide back-up power for the system in case of shortage.
Engineering of the power plant is completed. All engines and generators have been tested at the factory and are ready for delivery, and auxiliary equipment is being manufactured. The construction project is scheduled to commence in April 2021.
Álvaro Acevedo, technical director for El Tesorito, said: “We have a long-term capacity contract to deliver a reliable supply to the grid, and to supply efficient energy when needed. For these reasons, we required a proven solution from an experienced provider with a strong track record. The flexibility, reliability and efficiency of the Wärtsilä plant, which can be started and stopped in a matter of minutes and which has a very low water consumption, is exactly what is needed as we integrate more and more renewables into the system.”
Gonzalo Granda, managing director for Colombia and Ecuador, Wärtsilä Energy, adds: “This will be a major flexible baseload power plant capable of helping the national grid cope with varying weather conditions. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the contract was negotiated remotely. We also carried out the testing of the engines remotely from our factory with the customer attending virtually. This allowed them live access to the instrument readings, and to verify that the camshaft, bearings and other components showed normal wear following the tests.”