Statkraft and Ylem deliver 27 MW of flexible generation to UK’s grid

Ylem 6-6MW Blaguegate Flex, courtesy of Ylem Energy

Statkraft, European provider of market access services, and Ylem Energy, flexible generation specialists, have announced the start of commercial operations for the 6.6 MW Blaguegate gas-powered generation project.

The project includes two natural-gas-fuelled flexible generation systems that will provide a combined 26.6 MW of capacity for balancing the UK’s national grid and enabling further expansion of renewable generation.

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Completed during the challenging conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the team had to adhere to enhanced health and safety procedures in order to keep safe whilst enabling this vital system to come online.

Owned and operated by Ylem Energy, the systems can be quickly called upon by the grid to help top up the generation capacity at times of system stress or low renewable output. This allows for the continued expansion of renewable generation, whilst maintaining the UK’s security of supply through participating in schemes such as the UK Capacity Market.

The first system is located at the Trafford industrial area on the outskirts of Manchester city centre. It comprises of eight 2.5 MW natural-gas-fuelled generators that can produce up to 20 MW of fast-responding flexible power to help balance the national grid ” particularly when the UK’s renewable energy output is low.

The second system – based at the site of a former colliery on the outskirts of Skelmersdale, Lancashire – comprises of six natural-gas-fuelled generators that can produce a combined output of 6.6 MW.

This system utilises generators that have all been repurposed from Ylem Energy’s own fleet of landfill-gas-generation systems. The systems have all been refurbished, installed, tested and commissioned in preparation for their contribution towards the UK’s drive towards decentralisation.

Ian Gadsby, managing director of Ylem Energy, commented: “We recognise the important role that this type of generation and other forms of flexible power ” such as large-scale battery energy storage systems ” need to play in securing the UK’s energy future and meet its target of net-zero carbon emissions.

“You only need to look back to the regional blackout experience in the summer of 2019 to see what happens when generation capacity trips and large amounts of the grid supplies are disrupted. This type of system will collectively help the national grid guard against future disruption and protect the security of supply to consumers.

“We’re fully committed to growing our own portfolio of generation assets and have embarked on an ambitious programme of constructing self-financed flexible generation and storage assets that are proactively participating in the balancing market.”

Brian Lonn, head of Statkraft’s flexibility business in UK, said: “We are delighted to be working with Ylem Energy to optimise their Blaguegate facility.

“Blaguegate is a project which demonstrates how developers can rapidly deliver the flexible generation capacity which the UK energy system needs to accept higher levels of renewable generation without sacrificing security of supply in order to achieve climate goals.

“Statkraft appreciates the need for flexible power generation as a key component of the energy system until such a time as multi-day mass energy storage becomes economically viable to provide security of supply. The energy market and the UK’s transition to a low carbon future should benefit greatly from projects like Blaguegate.”

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