Cat® Engines Backing Up Kansas

High efficiency, low emissions natural gas-powered generator sets provide power in the Sunflower State
Jan 6, 2015 12:00 PM ET

Wind has long been a feature of the Kansas prairie. In fact, the state has the second-highest wind potential in the U.S., second only to Texas. Harnessing that renewable energy resource presents a big opportunity for sustainable growth in the state. Wind energy, however, has one significant limitation — it is not available at the same level at all times. For that reason, utility providers must complement their wind resources with other generation sources that offer flexibility and control to effectively manage sudden changes in supply and demand of power. Caterpillar has the right solutions and capabilities to meet that need.

Mid-Kansas Electric Company, LLC is a coalition of five rural electric cooperatives and one wholly-owned subsidiary that serve approximately 200,000 Kansans throughout 33 counties. Mid-Kansas selected Caterpillar to equip Rubart Station, a backup generating station, to manage the fluctuations in available energy that are inherent with wind power. The result is one of the largest natural gas-fired power plants powered by Cat®generator sets globally.

The new facility will include 20-cylinder, natural gas-fueled Cat generator sets, each rated at 12,500 horsepower. Each engine will drive a single generator, and the total electric output of Rubart Station will be approximately 110 megawatts. The 12 units can be started and ramped up quickly to meet rapidly changing market conditions, to respond to wind resource changes and to assure full reliability within the Mid-Kansas system.

This configuration was chosen over other options based on several factors, including high efficiency, low emissions, exceptionally low water consumption and fast load response.

"Mid-Kansas Electric is building this new station to help manage the fluctuations in available energy that are inherent with the growing presence of wind power in the area," said Dean Powell, director of Global Sales and Marketing, Caterpillar Power Generation Systems. "We are excited that Mid-Kansas Electric will be the first to install our new Cat® G20CM34 Generator Sets. These generator sets will not only enhance Mid-Kansas' current diverse generation portfolio comprised of natural gas, coal and wind but will also serve as a reliable and cost-effective means to meet its coalition members' growing demand for energy."

Click here to learn more about this story and others in the 2013 Caterpillar Year in Review report.

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