Norwegian energy company Statkraft hopes that starting next winter, the new flywheel, designed by a division of General Electric, will be able to mimic the rotating turbines of a traditional power plant, which have helped balance the network frequency at around 50 hertz for decades. .Currently, the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) is forced to close wind farms and operate gas-fired power plants even if there is more than enough renewable energy to meet British electricity demand , in order to keep the network frequency stable.
By simulating the mass of rotating metal in a power plant turbine without producing emissions, Statkraft should be able to help ESO depend less on fossil fuels and make more use of renewable energy.
It is the first time that a project of this type will be used anywhere in the world and ESO thinks that it could be a “huge step forward” in the management of a zero carbon electricity network.
The task of keeping the electrical frequency of the grid stable is becoming increasingly difficult, as the increasing stability of renewable energy projects in Britain does not use the same giant rotating turbines which generally help to keep the frequency stable.
In August of last year, more than a million people across the UK were plunged into darkness during one of the worst power outages in more than a decade after the grid frequency fell to 48.88 Hz.
Since then, National Grid ESO has accelerated its plans for new power outage protection measures to avoid another shock to the energy system, including patterns and new technologies that can help protect the frequency of the grid. without increasing its carbon footprint.
“Our stability service contracts with suppliers such as Statkraft are cheaper and greener, reducing emissions and saving money for electricity consumers,” said Julian Leslie, network manager at National Grid ESO. “This approach is the first of its kind in the world and represents a big step forward in our ambition to be able to operate the GB carbon-free electricity system by 2025.”