National Grid taps Siemens, Uniper for help with Stability Pathfinder program

A synchronous condenser provides short-circuit power, inertia, and reactive power for dynamic loads. Inertia and short-circuit power are key elements of grid stability. Credit: Siemens

Siemens Energy said today that it has been awarded contracts by energy company Uniper to provide rotating grid stabilization technology at two sites in the UK. This new technology will enable Uniper to deliver grid stability services to energy system operator National Grid ESO, through generating inertia which helps balance grid frequency, without generating power. 

Siemens Energy will supply and install two new custom designed synchronous condenser units at Uniper’s Grain combined cycle power plant in Kent. At Killingholme in Lincolnshire, the two Siemens’ steam turbine generators will be repurposed to enable synchronous condenser operation. 

All new units will be supplied with state-of-the-art, custom designed, Siemens Energy rotating machines, flywheel, and control systems and will use the existing grid connections at each site.  

Siemens Energy supported Uniper with front end engineering design across both sites, to ensure a custom technology solution was provided, and will be responsible for installation and commissioning across both sites, with both projects due to be operational in 2021. 

Julian Leslie, Head of Networks and Chief Engineer at National Grid ESO commented: “The GB electricity system is one of the most advanced in the world, both in terms of reliability and the levels of renewable power.

“We’re really excited to be building on that and see Siemens Energy and Uniper deliver another development in our Stability Pathfinder programme.”

“Contracts and technologies such as these are cheaper and greener, helping us as the system operator to reduce emissions and save money for electricity consumers – a huge step forward in our ambition to be able to operate the GB electricity system carbon free by 2025.”  

“As the energy transition in Great Britain continues along a path toward a zero-carbon future, innovative products and solutions such as these are taking center-stage,” said Karim Amin, Executive Vice President, Generation, Siemens Energy. “And as GB’s electricity generation system moves to more decentralized, renewable power, projects like this which provide inertia without generating any power, will be even more important for the energy system of the future. We salute Uniper for their commitment to a more sustainable energy future.”

Steve Scrimshaw, Vice President, Siemens Energy Ltd UK&I, said: “Great Britain is leading the way in integrating renewable power to replace fossil-based generation to decarbonize its electricity system. To go further, we will need to see more projects, like these, which enhance grid stability, and will ultimately enable the net zero goal to be achieved.” 

Mike Lockett, Uniper UK Country Chairman and Group Chief Commercial Officer Power, commented: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to work closely with Siemens Energy to create a bespoke solution that meets the needs of National Grid ESO, and which is the right fit for our Killingholme and Grain facilities. 

“The services provided by Uniper will make an important contribution in supporting the energy transition by maintaining grid stability and security of supplies whilst enabling more renewables to be integrated into the energy system. Creating these innovative solutions based at our sites, puts Uniper at the forefront of this market, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to meeting the challenge of a zero-carbon future.”

The services provided by Uniper under the Stability Pathfinder project will support National Grid ESO by helping balance the UK’s electricity system and help maintain the frequency at 50Hz.

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