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ABB synchronous compensators are used in Liverpool

ABB synchronous compensators are used in Liverpool

ABB has completed a major turnkey project for Statkraft, Europe’s largest renewable energy producer, to help restore lost spin power essential for the stable operation of the UK’s electricity grid. This is important as the country is transitioning from fossil fuels to using more renewable energy such as wind and solar. The project consisted of two synchronous flywheel compensators installed at Lister Drive Greener Grid Park in Liverpool. It is operational now and will provide about one per cent of the UK’s inertial needs by 2025.

Traditionally, fossil-fuel turbine generators provide the rotational inertia necessary to maintain stable power grids. It is now being phased out, reducing network inertia. Innovative solutions such as Greener Grid Parks are part of a broader initiative to reverse the stalemate equivalent of five coal-fired power plants, saving UK consumers around $122m over six years.

Synchronous compensators are large rotating machines that simulate the operation of coal- or gas-fired generators to provide an alternative source of rotational inertia. It has been implemented by ABB to stabilize power grids on many projects around the world. However, Lister Drive is the first project in the world to have an ultra-high rotating mass configuration that pairs a synchronized compensator with a 40-ton flywheel. This immediately increases the available inertia by 3.5 times to ensure that the frequency and voltage of the network are stable within the narrow limits needed to maintain network reliability.

Heikki Vepsäläinen, Division Director of ABB Large Motors and Generators, says, “The transition to renewable energy generation is an important part of the world’s journey towards zero greenhouse gas emissions. Our challenge is to achieve this ambition while maintaining stable and reliable power grids. This is where we Synchronous compensators play a key role. We are delighted to be working with Statkraft on this groundbreaking project that really shows how innovative technology can tackle the challenge of inertia.”

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ABB’s synchronous grit compensators with flywheels are manufactured in Västerås and installed by ABB UK. To ensure that this important system is available around the clock, Statkraft has signed a 10-year agreement with ABB for maintenance services. The full suite of ABB Ability™ digital condition monitoring solutions are now implemented to improve performance and predict maintenance needs. By evaluating data in real time with cloud-based analytics, the team can plan corrective actions before problems occur, ensuring system reliability.

“ABB has ambitious sustainability targets for both our operations and our products, so it is very positive that our synchronous compensators in Liverpool now allow more renewable energy to be connected to the UK grid,” says Kristina Karlquist, Managing Director of Synchronous Condenser. ABBMotion.