Statkraft has announced a 15-year partnership with independent power producer Statera Energy, which will see the latter bring 1GW of flexible generation assets to market.
And crucially, the deal will see those assets brought into Statkraft’s multi-gigawatt UK virtual power plant (VPP) as it continues to ramp up its scale.
Under the agreement, Statera will develop 1GW of high-efficiency gas reciprocating engines and energy storage plant, capable of discharging power at times of peak demand or under-production.
Speaking to Current±, Tom Vernon, managing director at Statera, said that while the 1GW would be made up “predominantly” of gas-fired plant, battery storage would have a critical role to play and all the prospective projects are currently in the planning system.
As those assets are developed and brought on-stream, they will be integrated into Statkraft’s virtual power plant and accompanying trading platform, with the state-backed Norwegian utility providing marketing optimisation, trading and risk management services to the assets.
Statera will initially integrate its 49.99MW Creyke Beck battery storage facility which remains amongst the largest utility-scale battery storage projects in the UK. Additional projects are to follow.
That project, and all subsequent projects brought forward under the strategic partnership, will play a significant role in expanding the operational capacity of Statkraft’s UK-based VPP beyond its current ~1GW capacity.
In March the firm unveiled plans to rapidly expand its VPP and set sights on effectively doubling its scale to some 2GW by the end of the summer. Statkraft is in no short supply of UK renewable capacity itself, with around 3.8GW of output under contract.
Duncan Dale, head of Statkraft’s UK-facing markets business, told Current± that recent trends in the UK power market, including increased instances of negative pricing and higher volatility, meant that VPPs stood to have a growing and more influential role in power markets as the transition to cleaner, more variable generators took hold.
“Statkraft recognises the importance of flexible power generation for the provision of secure energy supply in the years to come until multi-day mass energy storage becomes economically viable. It is vital that any new generation capacity is highly efficient and ultra-flexible, like Statera’s… The energy market and the UK’s transition to a low carbon future should benefit greatly from unlocking this potential,” he said.