Sky Global Power One (TX, USA)

Natural gas power plant provides grid support during unusual winter storm crisis in Texas

SkyGlobalProject1

Background

As Texas continues to grow, more flexible power generation is needed, to meet peak power needs, reliably and affordably. This reality is shared across the globe, where rising populations, the continuous expansion of renewable energies, and emergency situations place critical demands on energy supply networks.

A prime example: in February 2021, one of the worst winter storms in more than 90 years brought rolling blackouts to Texas, leaving millions of homes without access to electricity. As electrical baseboards and heat pumps across the region went to work to combat the cooler temperatures, increased electricity demand quickly outpaced even peak summer heat-wave levels.

Proving its worth during this crisis, the Sky Global Power One natural gas-fired plant in Rock Island, was able to provide continuous power to the members of the San Bernard Electric Cooperative (SBEC) during the power outage.

“As the population across the San Bernard service area continues to grow, secure power supply has become increasingly important,” said Billy Marricle, General Manager for the San Bernard Electric Cooperative. “The Sky Global Power Plant helped to secure grid stability and keep the lights and heaters operating for approximately 20,000 homes in Colorado County during the historic winter storm this past February.”

Solution

A project of Sky Global Partners, LLC, an independent power producer, the 51 MW Sky Global Power One plant, commissioned in 2016, supplies peaking electricity year-round for the SBEC in an eight-county region of south-central Texas. At the heart of the plant are six of INNIO’s Jenbacher 8.6 MW natural gas-fired J920 FleXtra generator sets.

With the ultra-fast response of the J920 engines, the power plant can provide a very high degree of flexibility within a short period to offset the volatility of wind and solar resources, thus ensuring grid stability during power peaks and supporting the power needs of the cooperative’s members.

Results

To help meet peak power demand, the Sky Global Power One power plant was brought online during the power interruption on the transmission level supply lines. Additionally, the gas power plant’s six Jenbacher gas engines ran continuously in grid parallel mode from Sunday, February 14, 2021 through Thursday, February 18, 2021, supporting San Bernard’s distribution system and enabling its members to ride through a grid outage event.

“The Jenbacher technology allowed us to quick-start the power plant in less than 5 minutes to support grid stability and supply 51 MW to San Bernard’s members. This helped to provide secure and reliable power to approximately 20,000 homes in the San Bernard region,” said Frank Rotondi, president and CEO of Sky Global Partners. “As a consequence, the power plant also helped to heat the homes via electrical baseboard or heat pumps.”

"Decentralized energy supply based on gas power plants plays an integral part in securing the power supply for the coming decades while making power generation more sustainable," explains Carlos Lange, President and CEO of INNIO. "In the short and medium term, gas-fired power plants will continue to be powered by natural gas. In the longer term, however, I expect these power plants to run on climate neutral fuels, for example, operating with green hydrogen," Lange says.

J920's customer advantages

  • Reliable. Offers stable power output and reliable efficiency in wide range of ambient conditions.
  • Quick startup. Has fast, 5-minute startup and quick shutdown capability for grid stabilization.
  • Efficient. Delivers high-efficiency peaking power, with electrical efficiency greater than 48%.
  • Cost saving. Reduces fuel consumption and operating costs as well as allowing participation in electricity trading.

Key Technical Data

Location

Rock Island, Texas, United States

Industry

IPPs, Utilities and Peaking Power

Application

Power generation

Jenbacher equipment

6 x Jenbacher J920 FleXtra gas engines

Fuel type

Natural gas

Power output

51 MW

Commissioned

2016

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