Advanced energy storage system to balance grid on Shetland Islands


As part of a decarbonisation drive, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) will partner with technology company Wärtsilä to install an advanced energy storage system on the Shetland Islands.

The energy storage system will be installed at the main power station, which is operated by SSEN in Lerwick, the capital of the Shetland Islands. The power station runs on diesel fuel and the new efficient energy storage system will enable significant reduction of the plant’s emissions.

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The 8MW / 6MWh advanced energy storage system will provide grid balancing and essential back-up capabilities. The solution will also provide increased energy system stability to enable existing wind turbines greater penetration onto the electricity grid.

There are more than 2,200 inhabited islands across the EU, many of which rely on expensive fossil fuel imports for power. This can mean that they are more likely to experience more frequent and longer blackouts and presents unique challenges for the transition to net zero carbon emissions.

“The Shetland Islands are leading the way and providing a blueprint for other islands to follow. The learnings will enable us to plan the best net zero pathway for larger island nations – such as the whole of the UK,” said Bent Iversen, senior business development manager, Wärtsilä Energy. “This project demonstrates that decarbonising energy systems can go hand-in-hand with increasing power system reliability and cutting costs. It will show how advanced flexible technologies can benefit communities all over the world as we strive to achieve 100% renewable energy.”

In November, the Wärtsilä Energy Transition Lab Report found that installing advanced flexible technologies, including energy storage and flexible gas, could save the overall UK economy £270 million ($368 million) a year by 2030 compared to adding renewables alone.

“As the electricity distribution network operator responsible for ensuring homes and businesses in Shetland receive a safe, secure and reliable supply of electricity, we’re investing in Lerwick Power Station to support full duty operations of the station until Shetland is connected to the GB electricity system. A reliable supply of electricity is essential to the local community and the North Sea oil companies operating out of Shetland, which is 200 kilometres from the northern tip of Scotland. The Wärtsilä energy storage system will enhance the islands’ security of supply, while at the same time lowering our carbon footprint,” said Darren Hitchin, Embedded Generation Manager at Lerwick Power Station.

The system includes Wärtsilä’s GridSolv Max product, a standardised energy storage solution that provides modular storage for the core hardware assets of the system, including batteries, a safety and fire system, and inverters, alongside the proprietary energy management platform GEMS. GEMS manages and optimises entire energy ecosystems to provide the desired outcomes at the lowest cost.

The system will be supported with a ten-year service agreement, including maintenance for the software and hardware system components, as well as 24/7 remote support and management.

SSEN belongs to SSE plc, one of the UK’s largest utilities.