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Mon August 03 2020

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Statkraft and GE join forces to avoid blackouts

7 Jul Statkraft and GE are teaming up to implement a new approach to improving the stability of the UK’s power grid as the use of renewables increases.

The technology involves a rotating stabiliser – a giant flywheel that stores energy – to help balance the fluctuating supply provided by renewables. It will replace the stability services currently provided by traditional thermal plants. Its benefits include eliminating the CO2 emissions created when traditional plants are used to stabilise supply.

Statkraft UK will install GE technology at its stability project at Keith in the northeast of Scotland. GE Power Conversion will manufacture and install two Rotating Stabilizer synchronous machines at Statkraft’s site. National Grid ESO (NGESO) awarded Statkraft four stability contracts – two at Keith and two at Lister Drive - earlier this year.

In delivering the project for National Grid ESO, Statkraft UK and GE Power Conversion will provide services to help keep the electricity system stable. This has traditionally been provided by using the kinetic energy in the spinning parts of large generators when they were providing electricity onto the grid. The rise of generators such as solar, wind and interconnectors mean these services are now more important and are being procured separately.

GE’s Rotating Stabilizer solution provides a way of replacing the stability services provided by traditional thermal plant generation, but without CO2 emissions. As a result, fossil-fuel-powered generation does not need to run, which allows more renewable generation to operate.

Statkraft UK managing director David Flood said: “We are delighted to have reached this critical milestone in providing stability services to the grid. Our project at Keith builds on our electricity market and renewables expertise and helps Statkraft deliver our vision of being a renewable energy system integrator.”

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Statkraft UK head of grid integration Guy Nicholson added: “We are pleased to be leveraging GE’s vast experience to deliver this project and the stability contracts we have secured with National Grid ESO. The Rotating Stabilizer solution provides a way to replace the inertia provided by traditional thermal plant generation but operating without carbon emissions.”

“We’re delighted to be using our innovation skills and vast experience of rotating machines to be supporting a lower carbon path to meet the UK’s energy needs” said Andy Cooper, managing director of GE’s Power Conversion UK business.

Julian Leslie, head of networks at National Grid ESO, said: “The GB electricity system is one of the most advanced in the world, both in terms of reliability and the levels of renewable power, and we’re really excited to be adding to that with this new approach to operating the grid.

“Our contracts for stability services with providers such as Statkraft are cheaper and greener, reducing emissions and saving money for electricity consumers.

This approach is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and is a huge step forward in our ambition to be able to operate the GB electricity system carbon free by 2025.”

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