Guernsey Electricity signs contract for high efficiency diesel generator

December 13th, 2011 by Guernsey Electricity Ltd.

Guernsey Electricity Ltd. has entered into a contract for supply of a new medium speed generator unit at the Vale Power Station.

The new engine is being supplied by Finnish energy company Wärtsilä and will have a generating capacity of 17 MW.

Operations director Bob Beebe said the £14 million investment was necessary to provide long term secure energy supplies for the island.

From Left to right: Bob Beebe, Operations Director at Guernsey Electricity Ltd; Bent Iversen, Business Development Manager at Wärtsilä; and Alan Bates, Managing Director of Guernsey Electricity Ltd. (click image to expand - ©Chris George - image courtesy of Guernsey Electricity Ltd.)

“Our existing generating plant is of a considerable age. While all of our engines are maintained in good condition, they only have a finite lifespan and with the oldest approaching 35 years of service it is right that we are looking to strategically replace some of the fleet with a more modern efficient plant.

“Our long term strategy is to increase our capacity for imports of low-carbon electricity from France and in the even longer term to develop renewable energy solutions in Guernsey. In the short term we need the added security of being able to meet all the islands electricity needs by generating locally. This safeguards us in the event that our single submarine cable link to France via Jersey experiences any problems. Using oil is currently the best solution in this respect when all factors such as reliability and affordability are taken into account,” he said.

Major project manager Tom Woodford said the new medium speed diesel generator would also have several performance benefits over the older, slow speed engines currently in use.

“Principally the new unit will give us better performance, particularly with regard to start up times. With a medium speed engine we will be able to bring it ‘online’ two or three times faster than the older generators. As a brand new generator, it will also benefit from design improvements resulting in better efficiency and a reduction in emissions.”

The Wärtsilä 18V46 diesel generator with a generating capacity of 17MW and an electrical efficiency of 46.6%. The unit is over 18 metres long, five metres wide and almost 6 metres high. It weighs 360 tonnes (click image to expand - image courtesy of Wartsila)

“The new engine will have lower carbon dioxide emissions and there will be a 30% decrease in nitrous oxides (NOx) emitted when burning fuel. There will also be an 80% reduction in particulates compared to the older machines,” he said.

Bent Iversen, Wärtsilä business development manager said: “Wärtsilä are proud to be supplying this state of the art generator set for the island of Guernsey and we are looking forward to working closely with the project team over the coming months.”

Work to install the new generator is scheduled to begin in spring 2012 with final commissioning due to be completed for operational service in March 2013. Guernsey Electricity is also investing in further cable links to France which will increase the amount of electricity the island is able to import.

“Our current programme of capital investment will ensure that we maintain the right balance of security and affordability for islanders and also ensure that we access renewable and low carbon energy from France which reduces the island’s carbon footprint yet further,” said Mr Beebe.


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