2 x 50 MW
"The under two-minute start up time is a rare feature and very important to the UK grid.”
- Mark Futyan, Distributed Power Systems Director, Centrica Business Solutions
Balancing the intermittency of
renewable power sources
Need for quick responding
power supply during
a low-carbon energy system
Adding flexibility to the grid
with two 50 MW engine-based
Power plant with under
two-minute start up time
Flexible capacity enabling
the growing share of
Enabling the growing
share of renewables
Stable and balanced grid
at all time
Greener energy and reduced
carbon footprint in the UK
The rapid growth in renewable energy in the UK has increased the need for flexible power to balance the electricity grid. Wärtsilä has worked closely with energy and services company Centrica to provide the changing market with flexible energy, helping tackle the issues created by intermittent renewables and supporting the transition to a low-carbon energy system.
In the UK, the energy system is becoming increasingly distributed and low-carbon due to the growing share of renewables and old baseload plants closing across the country. This development has been driven by government policies and advances in technology. In 2017, the UK saw the greenest year in its history in terms of energy generation and the government is working towards seeing all of the UK’s remaining coal power stations closed by 2025.
While the increasing use of renewable power is reducing the country’s carbon footprint, these new sources of energy also need sufficient and reliable back up capacity for balancing the grid. One way to do this during peak times is to have power sources that can be switched on rapidly to ensure that the country doesn’t shut down.
Wärtsilä has delivered two 50 MW power plants to Centrica, a British multi-national energy and services company. Both these plants, based on five Wärtsilä 34SG engines and running on natural gas, will balance the stability of the grid. The two-minute, fast-starting flexibility of the Wärtsilä solution will aid with local peaks in demand and the inevitable fluctuations in supply from renewable sources. This operational flexibility provided by Wärtsilä ensures that energy is available when the supply from renewables drops.
Centrica’s two plants are located in Brigg in North East Lincolnshire and Peterborough in Cambridgeshire. They are the biggest medium-speed engine-based gas power plants in the UK, offering electricity for about 100,000 households in less than two minutes after they’ve been switched on.
Wärtsilä has delivered engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) for both sites, bringing Wärtsilä’s installed capacity in the country to over 250 MW.
Flexible to be stable
Mark Futyan, Distributed Power Systems Director from Centrica Business Solutions believes that fast-response plants are crucial for the country’s energy transition.
“As we utilise more and more renewable and distributed power sources, the situation gets increasingly difficult to manage,” he notes. “It’s a common trend everywhere, but particularly in regions where renewables are prevalent.”
Thus, Centrica’s strategy recently has been to focus on providing flexibility in order to keep the grid stable. When looking for partners for the Brigg and Peterborough projects, the company wanted to find someone with a solid track record of delivering quality products safely. Wärtsilä, in Futyan’s words, ticked all the boxes. “The under two-minute start up time that Wärtsilä’s solutions deliver is a rare feature and very important to the UK grid,” Futyan says.
“The UK is the leading country in shaping the electricity markets and Centrica is one of its leading operators. Today, renewable power sources provide roughly a quarter of the country’s total generation capacity, compared to five percent in 2006, and the share is increasing all the time. To support this trend, fast-starting, flexible generation is essential,” adds Bent Iversen, Senior Business Development Manager, Wärtsilä Energy Solutions.
In the same boat
The co-operation between the two companies has been running smoothly throughout the project. According to Futyan, the close collaboration ranges from senior management to staff on the ground. “We have been working in a shared office at the site and are collaborating well at all levels, including working together on sourcing future investment opportunities.”
Futyan notes that the market has changed in the past few years, as many other firms have tapped into the opportunities brought about by the need for flexible energy generation. This has increased competition and brought down power plant operating costs.
|| Wärtsilä 34SG gas power plant
| Operating mode
|| Fast reserve and balancing markets
|| 2 x 5 Wärtsilä 20V34SG
| Total output
|| 2 x 50 MW
|| Natural gas
|| EPC (engineering, procurement and construction)
Read about the Centrica success story in this brochure.
Find in-depth info about our gas and multi-fuel power plant solutions in this brochure.
Read about flexible energy solutions in this article.
If you want to know more about the Centrica project, please contact
Business Development Manager
Wärtsilä Energy Solutions