Wärtsilä Corporation was awarded a turnkey contract for the supply of a 40 MWe power plant in Madagascar in September. The plant is due to be handed over to the customer, the Madagascar water and power company JIRAMA (Jiro sy Rano Malagasy), in August 2007. It will be located at Mandroseza in the capital of Antananarivo.

The new power plant will be equipped with four Wärtsilä 18V38 diesel generating sets, having a combined electrical output of 40 MWe. The engines will burn heavy fuel oil and will be employed for base-load operation.

The project, worth approximately MEUR 30, is being partly financed by a 51% grant from the Government of The Netherlands. The remainder will be provided through a ten-year commercial loan, collateral for which will be credit insurance granted by the credit institution of The Netherlands.

The Mandroseza power plant will allow JIRAMA to avoid load shedding on the interconnected grid of Antananarivo. This will both enhance the local economy and drastically reduce the utility’s production costs.

The Mandroseza power plant marks a major step towards strengthening electricity supply in Madagascar and extending its availability to more of the island’s population.

In addition to this order, Wärtsilä was awarded a contract in May this year to supply ten skid-mounted Wärtsilä 20 diesel generating sets with a combined output of 15 MW to a local investor, Enelec, for installation in three other towns.

Two particular challenges in the Mandroseza plant are the restricted area of the site and the difficulty in delivering equipment to the site. The new 40 MWe plant is being erected on the site of an old power plant, which is relatively small for the new plant.

The second major challenge came in planning the delivery of the new equipment to the site. The plant is some 300 km from a port, with a great difference in altitude and access up very steep, narrow roads with a large number of inadequate bridges. So the decision was taken to transport the engines using the largest heavy-lift aircraft in the world to the Antananarivo airport from where they can be readily transported by road to the site. They are the largest and heaviest Wärtsilä engines that have ever been transported by air, and will require seven flights.