“The faster the power flows, the better": Argentinian power plant deliver electricity just three months after ordering  

Santiago Bautista knows the ins and outs of South and Central American distributed power systems. “The local energy landscape varies greatly, with technologies being dependent on the resources available,” Bautista says. Faster solutions, like CHP gas-powered turbines, are required to meet electricity demands.


By Chris Kraul


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Santiago Enrique Bautista Herman works as a sales manager for distributed power generation in Latin America. Bautista was born and raised in Venezuela, and has more than 15 years’ experience in the planning, construction, operation, and maintenance of thermal power plants. “The local energy landscape varies greatly from country to country, with technologies being dependent on the resources available. While Colombia and Brazil have a high proportion of hydropower – Paraguay even more so at 100 percent – Argentina, for example, has a large amount of natural gas deposits and mainly relies on gas-fired power plants in addition to wind and solar power plants. What’s more, the markets are free and liberal to differing degrees,” Bautista explains.


But there is one thing they all have in common: “Timing and rapid delivery are becoming increasingly important factors.” Fast power supply helps to deliver energy to regions, which are unable to wait for gradual development. It also helps to cover the short-term need for additional capacities in developed regions – the fast-growing demand for air-conditioning, for instance, which causes the peak requirement in cities to soar. In order to meet this growing demand, the country has to invest extensively in new power plants. Bautista: “The faster the power flows, the better it is for customers.” 


The need can be acute. Around 1 billion people worldwide are still without access to electric power, limiting their opportunities for healthcare, education and economic development in an expanding globalized energy value chain. Siemens Energy guarantees delivery in as little as three to six months after a contract has been signed of modular power systems that add up to 66 megawatts of urgently needed electricity to a network. Fast power can also help augment power generation where the network already exists but where economic march of progress hinges on an increase.

Fast power solutionslead to Argentinian electrification

One such venue is Argentina, where in recent years Siemens Energy has installed more than a dozen power generation packages, often featuring the versatile SGT-800 gas turbine and supporting equipment that can goon line within six months of a deal being signed. According to the World Bank, Argentina has achieved nearly 100 percent electrification over the past two decades, and the addition of “fast power” increments has made a significant contribution to attaining that goal.


In addition to expanding the reach of the nation’s electricity grid, the additional generation capacity has helped Argentina meet its rapidly expanding demand growth that has averaged 5 to 6 percent annually, which is three times the typical demand growth in the USA and the EU, says Santiago Enrique Bautista Herman, Siemens Energy Sales Manager for distributed power generation in Latin America, based in Lima, Peru.


“Siemens won the order initially (in 2014) for the delivery of a gas turbine. The customer needed powerful reliable equipment within three months tops to be able to fulfill their obligations toward authorities including the ministry of energy,” Bautista says. Since the first successful deal, twelve additional turbines have been delivered under “extremely short delivery and installation times,” he says.


Fast power, which relies on standardized pretested modules that are easy to transport and install, is becoming more and more typical of energy generation deals made across Latin America, says Bautista. One of the reasons for their growing popularity is that the initial systems using the gas turbine can be easily enlarged if the need arises. Two of the Argentinian installations, for example, have since been expanded with steam turbines to convert them to cogeneration systems, increasing efficiency by 50 percent.

“The local energy landscape varies greatly from country to country with technologies being dependent on the resources available. But there is one thing they all have in common. Timing and rapid delivery are becoming increasingly important factors in all projects,” Bautista says.

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Apr 17, 2019

Chris Kraul


Combined picture and media credits: Siemens Energy