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Statkraft, Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy, has signed its first supplier contract for the construction of the Lister Drive Greener Grid Park in Liverpool.

Statkraft has signed a ten-year service deal with ABB for the engineering and installation of 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.

The technology ABB is providing has only been used in Australia and Canada to provide a neutral emissions alternative to stability services from traditional thermal plant generators.

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.

The project will provide grid services including inertia, short circuit current and voltage control for use by the National Grid ESO to ensure the stability of 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.

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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.

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.”

Julian Leslie, head of networks at National Grid ESO, adds: “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.”

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Councillor Laura Robertson-Collins, Liverpool City Council’s cabinet member for environment & sustainability, reiterates: “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.”