Providence Place Mall

Providence Place Mall Chooses
Dresser Waukesha Engines and Kraft Power as Best Fit


Downtown Providence, Rhode Island is being reborn. The paved-over Woonasquatucket River has been uncovered to once again wind its way through the center of the historic district. One of the ‘jewels’ of the revitalization effort, along with new hotels and a train station, is the new Providence Place Mall, located a short distance from the State Capitol building. The mall is about 95 percent completed to date.

Located just outside a large control room and switchgear are three AT27GL Waukesha engines driving Kato generators. Each 12 cylinder Dresser Waukesha Enginator unit can produce more than two megawatts (2280 kW) of power at 900 rpm, 60Hz.

Dresser Waukesha engines provide electricity within ten seconds of sensing a power outage using a compressed-air starting system.

Linked in parallel to the local electric grid, the engines serve a dual purpose: to provide emergency electric power on a standby basis as well as peak shave power for the majority of the mall’s store’s, 16 movie theaters, parking structure, restaurants and a large lounge/entertainment area. The latter use, however, depends on the prices the local utilities are charging for electricity and natural gas. Plans call for the engines to run 8 to 12 hours each day to provide power to the stores, 25 rooftop chillers and common areas. In total, the mall can consume 12 megawatts of power daily and the Dresser Waukesha Enginator units can supply about 60 percent of that need.

One of the reasons why Gary Perrotta, the Site Manager at the Providence Place Mall, decided to choose Dresser Waukesha Engines provided by W.A. Kraft, was the ability to provide electricity within ten seconds of sensing a power outage using a compressed air starting system. Other manufacturers of gas engines this size could not meet that time limit, as required by code.

The unique gas engine, local grid power concept is part of an agreement between the local gas and electric utilities. A gas engine was chosen because of its efficiency, low fuel consumption and low emissions. It’s interesting to note that the ‘anchor’ stores located in the mall (Nordstrom’s, Filene’s, Lord & Taylor and others) have their own power systems to meet their HVAC, outlets and emergency needs. At the same time, through intelligent energy management system each store that is linked to the main power system has an electric meter.

“In effect, everybody except the anchor stores is our ‘tenant’ and we can bill them individually for their electricity consumption through our distributed control system,” Perrotta notes. “We basically operate as an on-site utility. We bring in power plus generate some of our own, using the Dresser Waukesha engines.”

In some applications, energy from the engine’s exhaust and coolant is captured and used to provide heat, hot water or steam in a co-generation process. In the case of the Providence Place mall, it was decided that this “waste” heat would not be used because of the mall’s particular needs and size.

“The engines start when we need them, even under emergency conditions, they run well and we expect them to be low maintenance” Perrotta concludes. “These are our satisfaction parameters and our Dresser Waukesha Engines are meeting them.”