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National Grid ESO and PeakGen voltage management project goes live in Merseyside

The shunt reactor has been installed at a substation in Frodsham, Cheshire. Credit: National Grid ESO/PeakGen.

The shunt reactor has been installed at a substation in Frodsham, Cheshire. Credit: National Grid ESO/PeakGen.

The first in National Grid ESO’s voltage management projects has gone live, with the Mersey Reactive Power solution installed in Frodsham, Cheshire.

It consists of a shunt reactor that absorbs reactive power, increasing the efficiency of the network and managing high voltage levels.

PeakGen was awarded a contract for the solution, and has now installed its 200MVAr reactor at a substation in the region, where it will now provide reactive power for the next decade.

“This is a world-first project delivered by an independent business and I am exceptionally proud we have delivered it for the ESO successfully, on time and on budget,” said Ian Graves, CEO at PeakGen.

“We are thrilled with this landmark achievement, particularly during very challenging conditions. I hope it helps drive forward innovation and cheaper solutions to realise a more affordable and sustainable energy supply for all.

A temporary military-style ‘Bailey bridge’ had to be built across an active river to move the 200 tonne reactor into place.

National Grid ESO awarded the contract as part of its Mersey Pathfinder, in an effort to manage high overnight voltage in the Merseyside region of England.

“We are delighted with the successful launch of the first of our voltage pathfinders in the Mersey region as part of our mission to provide a safe, reliable and greener electricity system which is fair for all,” said Julian Leslie, head of Networks at National Grid ESO.

“As we transition to using zero carbon energy sources and away from large fossil fuel generators, there is an ever increasing need to absorb reactive power and prevent high voltage levels.”

National Grid ESO has launched a number of pathfinder programmes in an effort to identify potential new sources of reactive power.

Through its Stability Pathfinder Programme it has now awarded contracts to both new technologies and new uses of existing technologies – such as contracting Triton Power to repurpose two gas turbines at its Deeside Power Station to provide inertia and reactive power to National Grid ESO for example.

The operator has also awarded a reactive power contract to an offshore wind farm transmission asset, SSE’s Dogger Bank C in a UK first in February.

In May, it put out a request for information for new sources of reactive capability across England and Wales, to assess whether it would be appropriate to run a commercial tender process amongst other potential pathways to secure more reactive power.

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