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Finnish energy and storage project developer Wärtsilä has been awarded a contract by Zenobe, a provider of energy infrastructure systems, to install a large storage unit in the north-east of Scotland. The facility will be able to temporarily store 400 megawatt hours of electricity and feed it back into the grid with an output of 200 megawatts.

Integrating wind power from the coast

The location in Blackhillock in north-east Scotland was chosen carefully. The storage unit will be able to integrate wind power produced by offshore turbines into the grid. It will be connected directly to the local transmission grid – the first of its kind in the UK.

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According to Wärtsilä, the facility is the first project to be installed as part of National Grid’s NOA Stability Pathfinder programme. This programme, run by transmission system operator National Grid, is about finding cost-effective ways to keep the grid stable as the proportion of fluctuating generation such as photovoltaic and wind power increases.

Equipped with intelligent inverter technology

The system at Blackhillock will also have this function. Zenobe will operate the storage unit, which is to balance the differences between power feed-in and power consumption there – including short-circuit resistance and true synthetic inertia, which are essential for the efficient functioning of the grid with fewer and fewer fossil power plants. To this end, the storage unit will be equipped with appropriate inverter technology to maximise the use of the system with a view to system stability.

Permanently analysing grid data

Wärtsilä will also equip the storage unit with the GEMS Digital Energy Platform, a self-development of the Finns. This is a new energy management system that will control the storage unit and is equipped with artificial intelligence. The machine learning function will permanently analyse historical and current status data of the grid and readjust the energy management so that the plant can react even faster to any changes.

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In this way, the plant will additionally optimise grid operation while being able to integrate ever increasing amounts of green power. In addition to this, the GEMS Fleet Direct and Power Plant Controller will enable the operator Zenobe to remotely monitor and control the storage unit and increase the safety, availability and flexibility of the plant via a diagnostic function. (su/mfo)