We are working to address two key issues which arise as the proportion of our energy from renewables increases.
Firstly, there is the need to balance demand on the grid when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine – we fill these gaps through flexible power provision.
Secondly, there is less short circuit level support and inertia as the traditional thermal generation methods are retired. This has implications for the safety and stability of the grid.
The ESO (Great Britain’s electricity system operator) ran a series of tenders to address these issues in particular locations, and Conrad Energy has been awarded two projects in the Pathfinder 3 procurement process.
As a result, we’re currently building synchronous condensers in Walpole and Eye in East Anglia, which will be amongst the largest assets in our portfolio when completed. Their purpose is not to convert electric power to mechanical power or vice versa but instead to adjust voltage conditions on the grid by absorbing or generating reactive power. The Pathfinder 3 projects are achieving over £14 billion of savings.