he Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and gas generation specialist has an installed peaking plant capacity of 312 MWe across the UK. It is in the process of energising an additional 49 gas engines to take this total reactive power capacity to 408 MWe. Gas-fired peaking plants, often known as peak-lopping, are power plants designed to balance the fluctuating power requirement in the electricity network and operate during periods of high level demand for electricity or shortfalls of power supply.
These flexible energy plants can meet the peak daily needs, such as early evening period, and seasonal requirements, e.g. greaterwinter demands for power, as well as any unexpected supply shortfalls.
There is increasing demand and supply variation at a network level, which is mainly due to the increase in renewable energy sources(wind and solar) connected to the electricity grid. Peaking plants provide important balancing services where weather conditions prevent output, eitherwhen the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining.
With more centralised power plants set to close in the next few years and more unpredictable sources of energy like renewables coming on stream, Edina CEO Hugh Richmond expects peaking plants to become an increasingly important addition to the UK energy mix.
Hugh Richmond explained:
"Peaking plants represent a significant growth area for Edina. Following the reinstatement of the UK Capacity Market in October,this important source of revenue has been secured for onsite flexible energy providers. In this way, organisations can maximise their income while helpingto address supply mismatches on the National Grid. Investors in peaking generation can also access other Demand Side Response (DSR) mechanisms like the Short-Term Operating Reserve (STOR). These various income streams can deliver an attractive return on investment, while also increasing the resilience of the UK power grid."
"STOR/peaking power plants represent a highly efficient and cost effective way of achieving a secure supply. Unlike slower reacting base load power plants, peaking plants operate in standby mode when not in use and are called to run by the electricity grid when there is a demand to supply electricity.
"Peaking plant technology is evolving as the need for short term energy capacity increases. Where expensive,carbon-intensive diesel engines were once used, these have been replaced by cheaper and greener gas powered generators, as with our 312 MWe UK portfolio."
Helping Welsh Power Provide Power Security
Edina’s largest gas peaking plant portfolio is an EPC with Welsh Power – covering a total installed capacity of 278MWe, with a further 20.7MWe preparing to go online.
Welsh Power awarded Edina the full EPC contract for its peaking power plants due to Edina’s complete project understanding and capability in delivering the entire technical and strategic requirements. In the initial phases, this included the provision of feasibility studies,together with financial and energy modeling to maximise the projects' objectives and energy performance.
Under the full EPC contract, Edina supplied, installed and maintains the MWM TCG 2020 V20 engines, which were containerised at its manufacturing facility in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. The company also undertook design of the building work to house the generators, as well as project management and commissioning.
Edina has incorporated smart design features into Welsh Power's flexible power plants. This includes the ability of the control system to use the entire site not just for STOR and peak power applications, but for other applications too.
The sites' control systems have been cleverly designed to manage the prioritisation of power demands from organisations, such as the National Grid. The system decides who has the priority to demand power, which ensures that the equipment is effectively utilised and the investment gives better returns. The gensets are also provided with heaters to improve start-up times at short notice.
The power stations have a fast ramp up time to meet the demand of the grid. A boiler-based engine block heating system was developed to minimise the parasitic load of the station when on standby,helping the gensets to ramp up to 100% load within the specified time.
In managing these electricity generating peaking plants,a number of challenges were addressed. Prior to work commencing onsite, any conditions imposed under the planning consent were discharged.
Typical conditions included the submission and approval by the planning authority of drainage design, external lighting design, noise levels and ground stabilisation/foundation design. Working with planning consultant Nathaniel Litchfield and Partners, Edina provided information and assistance to expedite the process.
Conditions ‘in the ground’ posed the greatest challenges.It is not unusual to encounter underground services, either not in the location shown on record drawings, or not on the drawings at all. This included contaminated ground, unrecorded mass concrete foundations, etc. To mitigate the impact of such factors on project delivery timescales, Edina undertook trial excavations and investigations to establish ground conditions and adapt methods and programme of works accordingly.
A large number of the Welsh Power STOR projects were designed and built in keeping with the aesthetic of the surrounding area.Facilities housing the engines were painted green and trees have been planted to minimise the environmental impact of the power plants.
The Welsh Power plants help the National Grid keep supply and demand in balance and provide UK infrastructure mission critical power in areas of the UK that are prone to risk of loss of power supply and with a high population density.
By using natural gas generators, Welsh Power’s STOR and peak power management effectively reduces carbon intensity and helps support the growth of renewable energy (solar/wind) generation, offering essential balancing at times when weather conditions prevent output.
The overall carbon emissions of the National Grid system will reduce as more renewable generation and lower carbon balancing services are connected to it.
These peaking power plants will safeguard security of power supply caused by the imbalance of renewable energy exported into the electricity grid.
Supplying directly to the electricity grid for domestic,public and/or commercial usage, the electricity generating peaking plants maintain a dependable energy service to allow the consumer to access energy wherever, whenever.
Edina is market-leader in the provision of peaking plant/STOR gas generation and Combined Heat and Power (CHP), and is the exclusive UK and Ireland distributor for high efficiency MWM gas engines. From its sites across the UK and Ireland, Edina supplies full 24/7 service and maintenance coverage - supported by remote monitoring and control systems. This ensures exceptionally high levels of genset efficiency and availability to promote operational resilience. The company's full turnkey/EPC power solution creates competitive advantage and sustainability savings for organisations across all sectors.
Further information: https://www.edina.eu