grid synchronisation
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Statkraft UK has partnered with GE Power Conversion, to overcome a challenge by no means unique to the UK – synchronisation, in the face of ever-increasing levels of ‘non-synchronised’ generation such as renewable energy.

GE Power Conversion will manufacture and install two of its rotating stabilisers at Statkraft UK’s stability project at Keith in the northeast of Scotland. The deal comes at a critical time for the UK energy sector as it adapts to a ‘new normal’, with the country’s energy mix experiencing growth in renewable power.

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In delivering the project for National Grid ESO, Statkraft UK and GE Power Conversion will provide stability services to help keep the electricity system stable, such as inertia, short circuit level and frequency. This has traditionally been provided by using the kinetic energy in the spinning parts of large generators when they were providing electricity onto the grid. The rise of non-synchronous generators such as solar, wind and interconnectors mean these services are now more important and are being procured separately.

Statkraft was awarded four stability contracts (2 at Keith and 2 at Lister Drive) by National Grid ESO (NGESO) earlier this year.

GE’s rotating stabiliser solution provides a way of replacing the stability services provided by traditional thermal plant generation, but without CO2 emissions. As a result, fossil fuel-powered generation does not need to run, which allows more renewable generation to operate, providing secure electrical power at a lower cost to consumers.

“We are pleased to be leveraging GE’s vast experience to deliver this project and the stability contracts we have secured with National Grid ESO,” said Guy Nicholson, head of grid integration, Statkraft UK. “The Rotating Stabiliser solution provides a way to replace the inertia provided by traditional thermal plant generation but operating without carbon emissions,” he added.

Commenting on the contract award, Julian Leslie, Head of Networks at National Grid ESO said: “The GB electricity system is one of the most advanced in the world, both in terms of reliability and the levels of renewable power, and we’re really excited to be adding to that with this new approach to operating the grid.

“Our contracts for stability services with providers such as Statkraft are cheaper and greener, reducing emissions and saving money for electricity consumers. This approach is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and is a huge step forward in our ambition to be able to operate the GB electricity system carbon-free by 2025.”