Supporting the UK capacity market

Source: 4/11/2024, Location: Europe

With renewable energies on the rise within industrial grid energy solutions, operators face challenges with the fluctuating availability of electricity from renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

In the UK where the weather is particularly unpredictable, the need for a diverse energy sector with flexible facilities that are sufficiently controllable and can step in and provide power as needed remains. Plants powered by gas engines, that can also run on green hydrogen, are a good alternative. The UK capacity market is therefore designed to provide grid stability at times of peak demand. New and existing energy providers receive a regular income stream for guaranteeing that a certain capacity will be available. Key assets within the market are our mtu gas gensets.

The right solution for efficiency and value
Today, there are over 500 mtu gas engines supporting the UK capacity market. Their big advantage is that they can be flexibly ramped up whenever they are needed.

mtu gas engines have been helping Conrad Energy, the UK’s leading flexible energy generator, play a critical role in ensuring the UK's energy stability and security since 2017.

"Our first flexible gas generation project launched in 2017 in Staffordshire and comprised eight mtu 20VL4000L64 engines,” explains Steve Conry, Chief Operating Officer at Conrad Energy. “mtu units were the right choice for our needs based on value, electrical efficiency and exhaust emission limit values.”

Today, Conrad Energy operate around 85 individual mtu units with a collective installed capacity of circa 185MW. Their total fleet typically operates around 1,500 hours per year, generating around 1,029,000 MWh - enough to supply 381,000 households with electricity.

Built to support the energy transition
“The mtu engines within Conrad’s fleet operate at good levels of availability and reliability, fleet average availability is in excess of 90% - despite the challenges of multiple starts and relatively short running periods, on average we see two operational hours for each engine start,” continues Steve. All of our gas gensets feature high efficiency and low emissions and are approved for use with a hydrogen blend as soon as it becomes more widely available, and also offer the possibility of being easily adapted for use with 100% hydrogen in the future.

Delivering flexibility for the long term
In contrast to many large gas turbine plants, facilities powered by mtu gensets can be built within just 12 months offering a rapid deployment solution to meet the growing energy demand. Once up and running, they can be called to action within 120 seconds.

These modular, containerised units are scalable and easy to install anywhere there is access to the grid and gas points. Since most units only operate at full power two or three times a day for a few hours at a time, their maintenance and overhaul costs are low over the entire life cycle of the genset. They can also be supported by an optional ValueCare maintenance agreement with the key benefits and reassurance these provide in the long term.

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