Construction begins on UK’s first grid stabilization facility

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Siemens Energy has started work to construct one of the UK’s first grid stabilization facilities. The new site is being commissioned in South Wales, UK, on behalf of independent power developer, Welsh Power.

The facility, located at Rassau, Ebbw Vale will see Siemens Energy’s rotating grid stabilization technology installed at the site to manage grid stability.

The technology, which consists of a synchronous condenser and flywheel provides inertia to strengthen the grid, short circuit power to ensure a reliable operation, and reactive power for voltage control.

Such technology is needed due to changes in the UK’s electricity system, which has seen a reduction in the number of large spinning generators, historically fossil-fueled power stations, connected to the grid, as the system moves towards renewable power.

Through the addition of a synchronous condenser, grid stability can be provided, without any power being generated, ultimately meaning more renewable power can be used on the network.

In addition to providing the grid stabilization technology, Siemens Energy will also provide control and operating systems, the cooling system and auxiliary equipment as well as connecting the site to the grid, with a 132kV step up transformer equipped as Sensformer® unit. Fitted with connectivity and intelligence the Sensformer offers access to real-time digital data for optimized operation.

Steve Scrimshaw, vice president, Siemens Energy UK&I said: “This is a groundbreaking project for Wales and the UK, using innovative, world-class technology as well as local contractors and specialists. As we move through the energy transition, innovative ideas and thinking will be crucial to maintaining the stability and security of energy supplies, as well as reaching net zero.”

Hauke Jürgensen, head of large transmission solutions, Siemens Energy, said: “The transmission system in the UK is coming under pressure in the move to decarbonize and projects such as this will be vital to keeping the lights on””

Once operational, the facility will be able to provide approximately one percent of the inertia needed to operate National Grid securely, with zero emissions, within 15 minutes of an instruction.

Welsh Power was awarded a contract to provide stability services to National Grid Energy System Operator earlier this year and expects the new plant to be operational by autumn 2021.

This article was originally posted by Power Engineering International and was republished with permission.

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