District Energy Peaking Stations

The first of a new generation of flexible peaking power stations has come on-line in Newport, South Wales and will form a valuable part of British Energy’s generation portfolio. British Energy initially aims to build five 10 MWe stations throughout the southern parts of England and Wales. These stations will be embedded in the local distribution network avoiding some of the infrastructure charges of the national network. This is a prime example of embedded generation in the UK and gives British Energy unrivalled flexibility when it comes to trading electricity under NETA -the new electricity trading arrangements.

British Energy’s trading team at Barnwood, Gloucester, will select the times of high electricity prices and peak demand before bringing the station on-line. This can be done remotely and the station can be up to full power in just 10 minutes. Andrew Murfin, strategy and business development manager with British Energy who has overseen the project, said: “Under NETA, flexibility of generation is vital and these gas-fired stations will make a further contribution to the company’s flexible generation portfolio.” This is all made possible due to the superb Jenbacher gas fired reciprocating engines, four of which will be located on site.

The engines, supplied, installed and serviced by Clarke Energy as part of their turnkey package for District Energy, are some of the most efficient in the world for their power range. Each Jenbacher J620 GS engines are 20 cylinder high-speed spark ignition engines, working on the four-stroke principal. They have a sophisticated Leanox closed loop fuel control system that maximizes efficiency and provides reliable compliance with NOx emission values. Being specifically designed to run off natural gas and not a converted diesel engine reflects upon their reliability and ease of maintenance. They are only overhauled every 50,000 hours and need only one person on site, to maintain the whole power station.

The power stations occupy around an acre of land, including car parking, a gas reception kiosk, a main transformer and four air blast coolers as well as the station building. In the case of the second site, being completed at Bridgwater in Somerset, the station has been located in an industrial estate on the grounds of a former sports and social club. The size and the low impact to the environment from emissions, noise and the fact that the gas can be piped in means that the stations can be located right next to the consumers.

November 2001 Speaking about the scheme, Project Manager for Clarke Energy, Steve Norris said: “Clarke Energy Limited are the leaders in Embedded Generation in the UK, capable of providing a full turnkey package operation within 9 months of order.” With construction of the first two sites almost completed, work on the other three sites at Sevington, Aberdare and Dafen Park (Llanelli) will start soon, with all five stations completed by summer 2002. This is just the start for embedded generation, as more sites are planned and more opportunities are taken to enjoy the benefits of a flexible source of electricity.

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