Wärtsilä and the China Energy Power Planning & Engineering Institute (EPPEI) jointly launched a study titled “Enhancing Power System Flexibility: Finnish Experience and Application in Jiangsu”. The study showcases how China can accelerate the energy transition by integrating more renewables and improving power system flexibility. The study considers three scenarios – baseline, moderate RES and high RES – and shows how the optimal path to more renewables can help lower system costs, while maintaining system reliability. To achieve this, flexible capacity, notably gas-based internal combustion engine (ICE) power plants, is needed to integrate RES and provide peaking and frequency regulation services.
The efficient and flexible ICE power plants allow the system to quickly meet the need for short-term rapid response when integrating RES, without risking the power system reliability and stability. An ICE can reach 100% capacity within just 2 minutes, quickly ramp up and shut down, and can be restarted without any operational penalties and with minimal downtime. This capability saves fuel, wear-and-tear, as well as emissions, since it is not necessary to run the engines idle. ICE power plants are different from conventional thermal power plants, such as steam & gas turbines. These ICE power plants provide ultimate flexibility with high efficiency even at low loads, and can operate on natural gas, liquid or biofuels. These plants can operate on baseload, provide peaking power, and also provide grid stability services.