Uniper and Siemens Energy provide grid balancing for UK power stations

Siemens Energy has been awarded contracts by global energy company Uniper to provide rotating grid stabilisation technology at two sites in the UK.

This new technology will enable Uniper to deliver grid stability services to British energy system operator National Grid ESO, through generating inertia which helps balance grid frequency, without generating power.

This follows Uniper being awarded four six-year contracts by National Grid ESO earlier this year, to provide inertia services and voltage control to the grid under phase 1 of its Stability Pathfinder.

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Two steam turbine generators will be repurposed and flywheels installed at the Killingholme site, and two new synchronous condenser units will be built on the site of the old oil-fired power station at Grain. These units will be connected to the existing grid connections at each site. Siemens Energy will be responsible for installing and commissioning synchronous condenser units at both facilities.

The services provided by Uniper through this innovative solution will make an important contribution by keeping the power system stable and the electricity supply at the required frequency as more renewable generation comes online.

Traditionally, inertia has been provided as a by-product of generating electricity at thermal power stations with large synchronous spinning generators. However, as many of these facilities reach retirement, the job of managing grid stability has become more challenging for National Grid ESO, as renewable generation is not connected to the grid in the same way and cannot provide inertia.

Working together with Siemens Energy, Uniper has developed a custom designed solution for each of the facilities that will provide the same grid stabilising services to National Grid ESO without the need to generate power – this is a significant step forward in helping to deliver a net zero future for the UK.

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.”

“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.”

Uniper will be the biggest provider of dedicated inertia and voltage control, and will deliver services at both Killingholme and Grain up to 2026.

Work to build the synchronous condenser units at both facilities is due to start later this year with contracted services to begin from 2021.