The National Grid ESO has completed work on 12 units which will provide inertia to the electricity network and ensure stability in the case of sudden changes in generating capacity.
The 12 synchronous compensators are zero-carbon and will help the ESO meet its ambition to transition to a fully decarbonised network by 2025.
Currently inertia is provided to the electricity grid using fossil fuel power stations, which need to be warmed in case they are needed to provide extra power. The Stability Pathfinder units will replace these facilities and provide a transition to a zero-carbon system.
The ESO says that these units will provide “up to £128million in consumer savings over their lifetime and to reduce CO2 emissions by around 6 million tonnes.”
Stability Pathfinders was created to develop technologies that generate important system characteristics like inertia. Synchronous compensators replicate the creation and storage of inertia reducing the number of fossil fuel power stations that need to be kept available.
EDF Energy recently said that they closed West Burton coal fired power plant on March 31, despite National Grid ESO asking both EDF Energy and Drax to continue running coal fired power plants over the next winter.
In March, Octopus Energy called for an end to the use of coal fired power plants, citing the success of its Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) to provide flexibility and security to the grid.
Julian Leslie, head of networks at ESO said: “The delivery of all twelve units involved in phase one of our stability pathfinders is an important milestone in delivering our ambition to be able to operate the network with zero carbon from 2025.
Ian Kinnaird, Scottish assets director at Drax commented: “Triton Power’s conversion at Deeside Power Station from retired CCGT [Combined Cycle Gas Turbine] to synchronous compensator has been successfully operating for almost 2 years providing essential stability services to the National Grid. The recycling of Deeside CCGT is the first in a development pipeline at Triton Power to modify existing assets, and adopt new technologies, to reduce the carbon intensity of the UK power sector”
Mike Lockett, UK country chairman at Uniper, which provides the technology used in the units, said: “Uniper is now delivering all of the vital stability services it has been contracted to supply to National Grid ESO under phase 1 of its Stability Pathfinder to 2026, putting us at the forefront of this market.”