Construction of world’s largest grid-scale ultracapacitor


Reactive Technologies has signed a contract with Spanish technology group Ingeteam for the construction of a 5MW ultracapacitor to enable National Grid ESO to accurately measure power system inertia. The ultracapacitor will be built as part of Reactive’s GridMetrix inertia measurement service which will provide a real-time view of the operability of the power system stability into the NGESO control room; a critical factor as more renewable energy is dispatched onto the grid.

Once operational, the ultracapacitor will be used to directly measure inertia by sending pulses of power through the grid which will be recorded by Reactive’s proprietary measurement devices and processed by the GridMetrix cloud platform. This technological breakthrough is the equivalent of ‘sonar’ for the power grid and provides a step change in accuracy and granularity from the estimation models currently in use.

As the level of inertia within the power system in Great Britain declines due to an increase in renewable generation and non-synchronous generation, new methods of establishing inertia and managing system stability are needed. Moving towards a measurement system that provides a real-time view of inertia gives greater visibility of the stability of the power system, reducing the cost of balancing support and curtailment measures, and facilitating the safe absorption of greater amounts of renewable energy onto the grid.  These benefits will be crucial in enabling NGESO to achieve its goal of being able to operate a zero-carbon system by 2025.

The ultracapacitor is a critical component of GridMetrix® and following a competitive tender process, Reactive awarded the EPC design and build contract to Ingeteam Spain, a global leader in control and power electronics. Initial design work will begin in Q4 2020 with the delivery of equipment expected in Spring 2021 ahead of the commencement of the service in Summer 2021. The ultracapacitor will be located at Wilton International on Teesside, a major industrial site managed by Sembcorp Energy UK in the heart of one of the UK’s emerging low carbon hubs. It will be a significant addition to the hub as it aims to become the UK’s first zero-carbon industrial cluster, playing a significant role the area’s regional development plans and in the UK’s industrial strategy for a low carbon Northern Powerhouse.

Marc Borrett, CEO, Reactive Technologies, commented,“We are delighted to have passed another milestone in the delivery of this world-class project which will make a significant contribution in supporting NGESO’s and the UK’s overall decarbonisation ambitions. The adoption of our GridMetrix service by innovative system operators such as National Grid is a validation of the hard work of our team and highlights how grid operators globally are realising the value in using real-time measurements to make operational procurement and strategic planning decisions as the energy transition gathers pace”.

Rob Rome, head of National Control at National Grid ESO, added, “The electricity grid in Great Britain is changing rapidly, with increasing levels of renewable, decentralized power.

This pioneering measurement tool is part of a range of new world-first approaches to grid management and will boost our visibility of inertia across the system, helping to bring more renewable generation online. It’s exciting to see another significant step forward towards being able to operate a zero-carbon electricity grid by 2025.”

Andy Koss, head of Sembcorp Energy UK, said, “We are proud that Wilton International is the host site for this innovative technology and that by working in partnership with Reactive Technologies we are responding to the challenge of meeting the UK’s energy and grid stability needs in times of reduced generating capacity.”


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