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225-MW fast-start facility to help Denton meet renewable goals

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The city of Denton, Texas, has awarded a contract to engineering firm Burns & McDonnell for comprehensive engineer/procure/construct services for Denton Municipal Electric's new 225-megawatt Denton Energy Center. The new natural gas-fired power facility will feature reciprocating engine technology that will provide fast-start power to the public power utility as it integrates more renewable power resources into its system, Burns & McDonnell said in an Oct. 7 news release.

In September, the Denton City Council approved a major portion of Denton Municipal Electric's "Renewable Denton Plan," which will greatly increase Denton's renewable energy portfolio.

Denton Municipal Electric intends to move toward 70 percent renewable energy by 2019, the news release said. Today, the city gets 40 percent of its electricity from renewable resources.

The new natural gas-fired plant will use twelve 18-cylinder Wärtsilä 18V50SG engines. Each engine will be able to be dispatched separately to balance power demand as needed.

The Denton Energy Center "will be one of the most flexible and efficient generating facilities in the industry due to its modular nature in which each Wärtsilä engine can be dispatched independently to quickly scale output up or down with minimal sacrifice in peak efficiency," said the news release, adding that this flexibility will become increasingly important as Denton continues to add more intermittent wind and solar power to its energy portfolio.

The plant will use selective catalytic reduction technology to minimize pollutants, the engineering firm noted.

"Burns & McDonnell has been serving the public power industry for more than 100 years so we are proud to help the city of Denton meet its goals to become one of the greenest cities in America by turning to renewables as its source of baseload power," said Rick Halil, senior vice president and general manager of the power generation group for Burns & McDonnell.

"Reciprocating engine technology is an excellent way to help them meet this objective," he said.

Engineering design is under way and construction will begin in early 2017. The engines and related equipment are expected to be delivered during the second half of 2017 and the plant will begin commercial operation by July 2018, the engineering firm said.