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Statkraft and ABB to launch new £25m grid stability project in Liverpool

Statkraft, Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy, is today announcing ABB as the first supplier for the Lister Drive Greener Grid Park in Liverpool, which will be constructed this year.

The Lister Drive Greener Grid Park will help to decarbonise the UK’s energy sector by allowing the grid to better adopt renewable energy and provide a low emissions alternative to regulation through traditional generators.

At present, renewable energy supply is not always used when it could be – solar, wind and interconnectors supply energy but not enough of the services needed by the grid to stably move that energy to consumers. The Lister Drive project will help solve this problem by providing services to help keep the electricity system stable, including inertia, short circuit current and voltage control.

ABB will engineer and install two Synchronous Condensers on the site. This is a new use for the technology, which has historically been used to maintain voltage on long transmission lines. Working closely with Statkraft, ABB’s UK team will support the site with a ten-year service contract.

The site at Lister Drive will be one of the first sites to use this technology to stabilise the supply of renewable energy to the grid in the UK, joining Australia and Canada. ABB’s Synchronous Condensers will provide a neutral emissions alternative to stability services from traditional thermal plant generators.

The deal comes at a critical time for the UK energy sector as it adapts to a “new normal”, with the country’s energy mix experiencing huge growth in renewable generation. National Grid ESO (NGESO) data shows that 2020 was a record-breaking year for clean energy, as the UK achieved a total of 5,147 hours of coal-free energy supply and reached new records in wind and solar power.

As Europe’s largest provider of renewable energy, Statkraft is at the forefront of this change and is delivering new, innovative projects that provide inertia (stability) to the grid. Statkraft was awarded four stability contracts by National Grid ESO in January 2020 for two projects on Lister Drive, Liverpool and two in Keith, Scotland. Keith is on target to support the supply of renewable energy into the grid by the end of 2021.

Commenting on the project, Managing Director of Statkraft UK, David Flood said:

“The Lister Drive project builds on Statkraft’s electricity market and renewables expertise to demonstrate that we can deliver on our vision of being a renewable energy system integrator.

“Working with ABB’s team in Warrington we will be able to use proven technology in an innovative way to deliver grid stability without carbon emissions.”

David Hughes, Managing Director at ABB said:

“ABB is thrilled to be working with Statkraft on this critical project to stabilize our UK electricity network. Our innovative technology, supported by a long-term service contract, will make it possible to add additional renewable generation as the UK transitions to a more environmentally sustainable future.”

Commenting on the contract award, Julian Leslie, Head of Networks at National Grid ESO said:

“It’s fantastic to see the next step in our grid stability contract with Statkraft.

“The GB electricity system is one of the most advanced in the world, both in terms of reliability and the levels of renewable power.

Our contracts for stability services are cheaper and greener, reducing emissions and saving money for electricity consumers – and are a huge step forward in our ambition to be able to operate the GB electricity system carbon free by 2025.”

Councillor Laura Robertson-Collins, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment & Sustainability, said:

“I welcome this as a scheme that will help to decarbonise the UK’s energy sector. The Lister Drive Greener Grid Park is an exciting project which we will monitor with great interest and we wish it every success. The timing is apt as we’ll be announcing an update on the city council’s carbon zero plans for 2030 very soon.”

Statkraft has previously called for local suppliers to submit their details for consideration to Lister Drive Greener Grid Park contractors. Further contracts will be announced in the coming months.