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Wärtsilä power plant will provide critical grid balancing as UK expands its renewable energy supply

Technology group Wärtsilä is supplying a 48 MW peaking power plant to support the growing use of renewables in the United Kingdom. The plant is under construction and is delivered under an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with British energy services and solutions company Centrica Distributed Generation Ltd. The order was booked by Wärtsilä in June 2023.


When completed, the plant will provide essential grid balancing power generation alongside an existing 49 MW peaking plant in Brigg, Lincolnshire. This will create nearly 100 MW of fast response assets capable of meeting demand when renewable generation is insufficient. The new plant will operate with four Wärtsilä 31SG gas engines. The fast starting engines can reach full output within as little as 2.5 minutes with no minimum up or downtime, thus making them ideal for compensating the intermittent supply from wind and solar power.


Chris O’Shea, group chief executive of Centrica, said: ‘Everything we do is aimed at ensuring our customers have the energy they need, when they need it, at the cheapest price possible. While the UK has made amazing progress towards a renewable energy future, gas plays an essential role in ensuring homes and businesses have access to a reliable electricity supply when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. So, we are delighted to be expanding the Brigg energy park to help balance the increasing renewables on the grid.’


The new plant is expected to be fully operational in early 2025. Once connected to the grid, the plant will have the capacity to power 20,000 homes for a full day when required. The high performance engines with their lifecycle cost will provide stable and reliable power to the grid.


‘We are extremely pleased to support Centrica in its efforts to decarbonise power production. This installation will help enable the use of clean renewable energy by providing the needed grid balancing. The Wärtsilä 31 engine platform is renowned for its high efficiency, and the engines are already able to run on a hydrogen blend. In the future our engines can be converted to run on sustainable fuels once they become widely available,’ commented Kenneth Engblom, vice president Africa and Europe at Wärtsilä Energy.



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