Wärtsilä has been contracted to supply a major Flexicycle power plant to Energía del Pacífico S.A. in Acajutla, El Salvador.

It will be the largest and most efficient power plant in El Salvador, and the first in Central America to be fired by LNG-based natural gas.

The order is estimated to be included in Wärtsilä’s order book in 2016, and the plant completion is scheduled for 2018. The value of the order is approximately €240m.

“One of the reasons why we selected Wärtsilä technology was the high reliability offered by Wärtsilä’s multi-unit Flexicycle solution,” said Alejandro Alle, Managing Director of Energía del Pacífico.

“This landmark project will produce the cleanest thermal energy in El Salvador, and it will lower the price of electricity in the country,” said Raúl Carral, Business Development Manager at Wärtsilä Energy Solutions.

As of today, about 50% of the 1,600MW generation capacity in El Salvador is based on oil. The new power station will decrease the price of electricity because the fuel, LNG-based natural gas, is cheaper than oil. Natural gas also produces 30% less carbon emissions and 99% less sulphur dioxide emissions than oil. The power plant will be the first in Central America to run on LNG-based natural gas. A dedicated LNG import terminal will be built at the same location.

“This project proves that LNG can be imported into a relatively small country, and to a mid-sized power plant in a well-designed LNG-to-power project,” said Sampo Suvisaari, Regional Director of Wärtsilä Energy Solutions.

The power plant will comprise nineteen Wärtsilä 50SG engines and a combined cycle steam turbine, producing high fuel efficiency of close to 50%. The Dry Flexicycle technology with a closed loop cooling system requires zero water consumption, which is a major benefit in El Salvador, which has recently suffered from the worst droughts in 40 years.