April 12, 2018 Read More →

‘Coal Will Disappear’ and Wärtsilä Predicts a Big Market in Smaller Plants That Can Integrate Renewables

Financial Times ($):

Jaakko Eskola, Wärtsilä chief executive, said the Finnish company’s energy business was “developing extremely well” because its focus was on small, flexible plants which could be better integrated with renewable power than the large gas turbines made by GE and Siemens.

Wärtsilä develops power stations which use combustion engines to generate electricity, fuelled by oil or gas. These small-scale plants are already a popular choice in developing economies and Mr Eskola said they were becoming more attractive as a way to provide rapid back-up generation when wind and solar power is unavailable. Plants of the kind developed by Wärtsilä can be up and running within four minutes, while larger combined cycle gas turbines take up to 30 minutes to ramp up, according to Mr Eskola.

“Coal will disappear, and eventually diesel and heavy fuel will disappear too,” said Mr Eskola. “Gas has a future for many years because solar, wind and batteries cannot do it all on their own. But I do not believe large turbines will be the solution.”

Like GE and Siemens, Wärtsilä is also diversifying into renewable power by developing solar capacity alongside its fossil-fuelled plants in some places, as well as battery storage and software services to help smooth out fluctuations in electricity supply and demand.

More ($): Demand For Fossil-Fuelled Power Remains Strong, Says Wärtsilä

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