Caterpillar Inc. has announced the dedication of Mid-Kansas Electric Company’s Rubart Station located near Ulysses, KS. The new facility, powered by 12 Cat® G20CM34 natural gas-fired, reciprocating generator sets, produces 110 MW of power making it Caterpillar’s largest natural gas power plant worldwide.
Rubart Station complements an existing power generation fleet operated by Mid-Kansas Electric to help meet the growing need for electricity in the region. Specific to the area is a focus on wind power, where the wind flow is strong enough to support utility-scale installations.
To address the challenges created by load swings when adding wind capacity to the electricity grid, Rubart Station is designed to adapt quickly to the fluctuations of energy demand. Caterpillar’s medium-speed G20CM34 generator sets provide the fast-start capabilities and flexible load utilization profile required to support the grid. Additionally, the G20CM34 offers low fuel and oil consumption for reduced operating costs.
"Reciprocating engines are becoming an increasingly popular choice of prime mover technology for utility-class generation assets,” said Dean Powell, general manager of Cat Power Plants & Key Accounts for Caterpillar Energy Solutions. “The fact that Rubart Station is located in the heart of the area's wind corridor will enable our new reciprocating engine technology to demonstrate its tremendous operating flexibility and efficiency."
Attendees to Rubart Station’s plant dedication included local and state dignitaries, Mid-Kansas board members and company officials, in addition to Perry Rubart, a longtime Pioneer Electric Cooperative trustee after whom the facility is named. The plant is currently in the final stages of commissioning and performance testing.
“We’re happy to have this facility online as it complements our already diverse generation portfolio comprising of wind, coal and natural gas,” said Steve Epperson, board chairman for Mid-Kansas Electric Company. “The exceptional flexibility of the G20CM34 generator sets allows Mid-Kansas to quickly respond to market conditions and to continue providing our members and the thousands of Kansans they serve with reliable energy at the lowest possible cost.”
The G20CM34 units can be deployed individually and provide a number of benefits including high-efficiency, low emissions and exceptionally low water consumption.
"Caterpillar is truly excited Mid-Kansas Electric is the first to install our new G20CM34 generator sets,” said Powell. “These generator sets will not only enhance Mid-Kansas’ current diverse generation portfolio, but also serve as a reliable and cost-effective means to meet its members' growing demand for energy. We are very proud to be part of this project."