The construction of new power stations and battery power stations has come about as a result of the changing energy landscape.
Before, energy came from reliable sources such as coal and gas, whereas now, more and more power is coming from renewable sources like solar and wind.
While this is great during windy and sunny periods, there needs to be a backup solution. Typically, fast response plants are used during periods of high demands, but there is also a need for security of energy supply during dull days.
Here’s a look at some new power stations and battery power stations that Centrica is currently constructing throughout the UK.
Part of Centrica’s £180m investment into flexible power generation and storage facilities, Brigg is a fast response 50MW gas-fired plant placed next to an existing Centrica power station.
Once complete, the new plant will operate as a highly flexible ‘peaking plant’ that will be able to go from a cold standstill up to full power in under two minutes. The plant is likely to run for a few hours a day when energy demand is high.
The same facility that has been built at Brigg is being constructed in Peterborough, and is expected to be up and running in the last quarter of 2018.
The 50MW gas-fired plant will play a key role in supporting local peaks in demand, producing enough energy to meet the needs of around 50,000 homes.
The plant will be made up of five small reciprocating engines that will typically be used on weekdays to meet periods of high demand or to provide back-up power when it’s needed.
Elsewhere, the construction of a 49MW facility in Roosecote was confirmed in December 2016.
This will be one of the world’s largest battery storage facilities, located at the site of the former Roosecote power station in Barrow.
The facility will respond to changes in the grid frequency in under a second, absorbing and exporting energy as needed to keep the grid at 50Hz.
Combined Heat & Power (CHP) converts a single fuel into both electricity and heat in a single process at the point of use.
This is more efficient (around 25% more – given conventional energy generation has an efficiency of around 50%, this is a huge difference) than traditional engines because it reduces the need to have a separate gas boiler to create heat on site. Energy generated can be stored for later use, or sold to the grid.
In addition, Centrica is also working on smaller battery projects (2MW), which will give organisations such as local authorities control over energy usage and trading.
With on site generation like CHPs and solar panels, they can store energy when there’s excess and use it for later or export it to the grid.
Also read: A new record for renewables in the UK
Image credit: Utility Week