The rapid growth in renewable energy, has increased the need for flexibility to balance the UK electricity grid. Centrica invested in two 50 MW flexible power plants to tackle issues created by intermittent renewables, and to support the transition to a decarbonised energy system.
Recognising the need for sufficient and reliable back-up capacity, Centrica, a British multi-national energy and services company, is focusing on providing flexibility and grid stability. When looking for partners for a new balancing solution for power plants, the company wanted to find someone with a solid track record of delivering quality products safely. Centrica turned to Wärtsilä.
Centrica’s two 50 MW flexible natural gas power plants from Wärtsilä, delivered under an EPC contract, are located in Brigg in North East Lincolnshire and Peterborough in Cambridgeshire. They are the biggest medium-speed gas-fuelled engine power plants in the UK, offering electricity for about 100,000 households in less than two minutes after they have been switched on.
“As we utilise more and more renewable and distributed power sources, the situation gets increasingly difficult to manage. The under two-minute start-up time that Wärtsilä’s solutions deliver is a rare feature and very important to the UK grid,” says Mark Futyan, Distributed Power Systems Director from Centrica Business Solutions.
The UK electricity market has changed in the past few years, as many firms have tapped into the opportunities of flexible and sustainable power generation. With increased competition, power plant operational costs have come down. In addition to providing flexibility, the modular design of Wärtsilä’s balancing power plants further cut operating expenses. The modular design significantly reduces a plant’s maintenance time and costs, improving its availability and reducing the need for spare parts. Furthermore, Wärtsilä’s modular engine power plants run with outstanding performance at any load.
|What||2 x 50 MW Flexible balancing|
|How||EPC (Engineering, procurement & construction)|
households powered in the UK
and less, to full power after start
MW of total electrical output
The under two-minute start up time is a rare feature and very important to the UK grid.
Balancing the intermittency of renewable power sources
Need for quick responding power supply during demand peaks
Transition towards a low-carbon energy system
Adding flexibility to the grid with two 50 MW engine-based power plants
Power plant with under two-minute start up time
Flexible capacity enabling the growing share of intermittent renewables
Enabling the growing share of renewables
Stable and balanced grid at all time
Greener energy and reduced carbon footprint in the UK
|Type||Wärtsilä 34SG gas power plant|
|Operating mode||Fast reserve and balancing markets|
|Gensets||2 x 5 Wärtsilä 20V34SG|
|Total output||2 x 50 MW|
|Scope||EPC (engineering, procurement and construction)|
Wärtsilä successfully hands over two new plants to support the UK’s need for fast-starting flexibility
Wärtsilä to supply two 50 MW power plants to the United Kingdom