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Aikengall II and IIa awarded contracts by National Grid ESO to maximise renewable generation output

Aikengall II and IIa

Community Windpower’s Aikengall II and IIa Community Wind Farms are two of fifteen generating units, including both wind farms and battery storage facilities, to provide new ‘post fault’ services.

This enables the ten companies connected and their generating facilities to be connected to constraint management equipment, which is designed to maximise renewable generation on the system and reduce constraint costs on the key B6 English/Scottish Border.

The contracts will run from 2023 through to autumn 2024 and are part of the ESO’s Constraints Management Pathfinder Project. The project aims to allow renewable generation to continue on the system, rather than being curtailed.

Currently, the main tool use to constrain generation is to pay generators off the system, this system is used globally but is expensive as it is done prior to a fault occurring.

Instead of paying these constraint costs to turn off generation when there is a risk of a fault, the technology used through these contracts will provide an option to keep generation continuing for longer. As a result of this, it will reduce constraint costs which are ultimately paid for by the consumer.

The project will see up to 800MW available to be tripped off at any one time. When the ESO identifies a constraint on the B6 boundary, the generation is ready to reduce output in the event of a fault, which avoids constraining the generation pre-emptively which is currently the case.

The generating units can respond as quickly as 150 milliseconds, reducing their output and the ESO reconnects the units to the system as quickly and safely as possible.

Julian Leslie, Head of Networks at National Grid ESO, said:

“These services give our control room more flexibility, enabling renewable generation to stay on the system for longer and taking us another step closer to 100% zero carbon operation.

“They’re part of the ESO’s wide-ranging 5-point plan which will allow us to manage constraints on the system more effectively in the years ahead, reduce balancing costs and ultimately save consumers millions of pounds”.

Rod Wood, Managing Director of Community Windpower, said:

“We are delighted that our Aikengall II and our recently constructed Aikengall IIa Community Wind Farms have won a tender to be part of the ESO’s Constraints Management Pathfinder Project.

“The ‘quick trip’ being fitted at Aikengall II and IIa will provide energy security and flexibility by supporting the system when a network fault occurs.

“At a time when the consumer is seeing rising energy costs coupled with the need for energy security across Europe it is time to put cheap green renewables to the forefront, driving down costs and taking a key step towards 100% net zero grid operation.”

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