The Acajutla LNG power plant, also known as the Energia Del Pacifico power plant, is a 378MW natural gas-fired power project under construction at the Port of Acajutla, Sonsonate, El Salvador.

The project also involves an offshore marine terminal comprising a permanently moored floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), an underground natural gas pipeline, a 44km-long 230kV transmission line, and three substations.

Energia Del Pacifico, a joint venture between the US-based power generation company Invenergy and the El Salvador-based Quantum Energy, is the owner and developer of the project.

Estimated to cost £702m ($877m), the Acajutla LNG power project represents the biggest energy infrastructure investment in the history of El Salvador.

Construction works on the project were started in January 2019, while commissioning is expected in 2021.

Energia Del Pacifico will be one of the first LNG-fired power projects in Central America. It is expected to create 1,500 jobs during the construction and 80 jobs during operations.

Acajutla power plant make-up

The Acajutla gas-fired power plant will be equipped with 19 Wartsila 18V50SG internal combustion engines with a rated capacity of 18.3MW each, heat recovery boilers for each generator unit, and a combined steam cycle system generating additional 26MW using the exhaust gases from the engines.

Wartsila 18V50SG is a turbo-charged four-stroke gas engine that runs at a speed of 500rpm for 50Hz and 60Hz applications.

The 18V50SG combustion engines are designed to operate with low-pressure gas, while the plant will be equipped with Wartsila’s DryFlexicycle technology to avoid the use of cooling water.

The Acajutla gas-fired power plant will offer a net efficiency of 49.4% in combined-cycle operations.

It will increase the electricity production capacity of El Salvador by 23% and help reduce the country’s dependence on diesel and heavy fuel oil for power generation.

Feed gas supply

The Acajutla power plant will receive LNG deliveries from 165,000m3 carriers for 32 times a year, which will be offloaded to an 174,000m3 FSRU permanently moored 1.2km offshore in a dedicated marine terminal at the Port of Acajutla, for storage and regasification.

After regasification, the gas from the FSRU will be transported onshore to the plant through a 12in-diameter riser and a 24in-diameter subsea pipeline.

Energía del Pacífico signed a long-term LNG sale and purchase agreement with Shell International in 2017.

Power transmission

The electricity generated by the Acajutla power plant will be fed into the Central American Interconnection System (SIEPAC), through a 44km-long 230kV double-circuit overhead transmission line connecting the Ahuachapán Substation in the vicinity of Los Ausoles Geothermal Plant.

The project involves the construction of three new substations, including the one to be constructed at the plant site.

Power purchase agreement

Energia Del Pacifico will sell the power output of the plant to seven private electricity distribution companies in El Salvador, under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), which was secured in an international tender process conducted by the Government of El Salvador in 2013.

Financing

The US government approved £280m ($350m) in financing through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) for the Acajutla LNG power project in March 2019.

Contractors Involved

Wartsila is the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor for the Energia Del Pacifico gas-fired power plant.

Dillon Consulting, Eco Ingenieros, and Environmental Resources Management (ERM) were engaged for the environmental impact assessment of the project.