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ABB joins 'critical' Statkraft system stability project

An artist's impression of the Lister Drive site. Image: Statkraft.

An artist's impression of the Lister Drive site. Image: Statkraft.

Statkraft has unveiled the Lister Drive Greener Grid Park, which is to provide system stability as part of a contract with National Grid ESO.

The £25 million park – which is to be constructed this year in Liverpool – is to offer services including inertia, short circuit current and voltage control.

The first supplier contract for it has been announced, with ABB to engineer and install two Synchronous Condensers on the site. These will provide an emissions free alternative to stability services from traditional thermal plant generators, Statkraft said. ABB is also to support the site with a ten-year service contract.

Six-year contracts worth £328 million were awarded by National Grid ESO to Statkraft, Drax, Triton, Rassau Grid Services (Welsh Power) and Uniper in 2020, with the companies all either modifying existing assets or building new assets to provide system stability.

Statkraft said its site at Lister Driver will be one of the first in the UK to use Synchronous Condensers to stabilise the supply of renewable energy to the grid, with the technology typically used to maintain voltage on long transmission lines.

David Hughes, managing director at ABB, described the project as “critical”, adding ABB’s technology will make it possible to “add additional renewable generation as the UK transitions to a more environmentally sustainable future”.

The need to find new ways of providing inertia is of particular importance as more renewables come onto the grid, with renewables not having the spinning parts that create the kinetic energy created usually released during frequency events on the grid, slowing the drop in frequency to allow other generators time to bring the frequency back up to normal levels.

The new approach to inertia comes alongside a range of other technologies and services being utilised by National Grid ESO to provide frequency response services, in particular battery storage and demand side response (DSR), which are able to provide fast responses in the event of a frequency drop.

Battery storage’s ability to provide inertial response was the focus of research from Northern Ireland’s Queens University Belfast in 2018 that found it could do so at a lower cost and with reduced emissions in comparison to traditional thermal generation.

Julian Leslie, head of networks at National Grid ESO said it is "fantastic to see the next step in our grid stability contract with Statkraft", adding that its grid stability contracts are "cheaper and greener, reducing emissions and saving money for electricity customers".

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