January 29, 2020 – The technology group Wärtsilä has been contracted to add a 10 MW/26 MWh energy storage solution to a power plant owned by Roatan Electric Company (RECO) on the Caribbean island of Roatan in Honduras. Wärtsilä's proprietary GEMS energy management software solution will control the utility's energy system, including earlier delivered Wärtsilä engines, and solar PV. The order was placed with Wärtsilä in December 2019.
The addition of energy storage and GEMS solution to RECO's generation resources will provide additional flexibility to integrate renewables into the local grid and secure reliability while eliminating the need for mechanical spinning reserve. The storage system will provide virtual spinning reserve capacity needed to maintain stability of the grid - particularly important for the energy security of an island. The solution will be delivered on a fast-track basis and is expected to be operational before the end of 2020.
"We greatly appreciate Wärtsilä's support in arranging fast delivery of this system. Electricity demand continues to increase on the island, and by integrating energy storage to our already efficient engine power plant, we will be better placed to meet this demand and ensure grid stability. The energy storage will allow the further integration of intermittent and variable solar and wind resources into the existing system. Increased grid reliability and avoiding outages is an important factor for on-going and continued island investments," commented Project Director Steve Cromeens, affiliated with RECO.
"The system will allow more cost-effective and optimised operation of the existing thermal power plant, plus enable more renewable energy to be incorporated into the system. We anticipate that by the end of 2021, over 20 percent of the delivered island energy will come from renewable sources. This is made possible by our integrated energy storage solution using tertiary control from the GEMS software," said Risto Paldanius, Director, Business Development, Energy Storage and Optimisation, Wärtsilä Energy Business.
The existing 28 MW plant was delivered on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract by Wärtsilä in 2017. It operates on four Wärtsilä 34SG-LPG engines running on propane gas.
Wärtsilä's total installed power capacity in Honduras is approximately 500 MW.
RECO is a progressive and visionary Caribbean utility that is constructing 12.5 MW of solar PV energy, has a 26-turbine wind farm, and a recently completed a 6-mile underwater subsea cable to expand their distribution system to two nearby islands.