Leading renewable energy consultancy and service provider Natural Power has been appointed by PeakGen to deliver high voltage management services for the Mersey Reactive Power Limited (MRPL) Frodsham Shunt Reactor project at Frodsham 400kV substation in Cheshire.
The project is the result of a National Grid ESO tender to provide reactive power that helps balance supply and demand for electricity minute by minute, keeping voltage stable, across the Mersey region. The contract will take on a novel approach: a reactor, which absorbs reactive power, and a battery which will be able to operate in additional markets alongside its reactive power contract.
The substation will be connected to Natural Power’s ControlCentre to provide a 24/7, 365 days a year support to ensure it remains safe and operational. The services being provided will include day to day monitoring and system management as well as the application of safety processes and procedures for all reactive and planned maintenance work.
Alistair Parlett, Natural Power’s head of asset management UK, said: “As more intermittent renewables have come onto the grid, the need to finely balance the voltage has led National Grid ESO to explore a number of reactive power solutions.
“We’re delighted to be at the forefront of industry innovation thanks to the continued development of our state-of-the-art ControlCentre which can connect to and remotely manage renewable energy assets anywhere in the world.”
As more renewable generation, such as wind and solar, replaces traditional fossil-fired power stations, the need for flexible, clean generation – that is able to react quickly to changes in consumer electricity demand – is increasing. For every 8 MW of wind generation that is installed, an additional 1 MW of flexible generation, such as PeakGen’s fleet, is used by system operators to balance electricity demand. PeakGen’s assets are also used to provide network flexibility for distribution network operators; all with the goal of optimising the system and saving customers money.
Ian Graves, CEO at PeakGen and Mersey Reactive Power Limited, said: “My team was delighted to win this contract and show that agile, competitive companies can make a real difference during the energy transition. Natural Power has helped to make the interface with traditional companies more familiar and we are pleased to have them as our partner.”
Reactive power is an increasingly important part of the UK grid, maintaining voltage levels to allow more energy to be transported down existing infrastructure. It therefore increases the capacity of the transmission system without upgrading existing infrastructure.