What is flexible thermal generation?
Most of today’s energy flexibility is provided by thermal power stations fuelled by natural gas to balance the power system rapidly and reliably. With renewable energy becoming more prevalent, flexible thermal generation has an important role in integrating renewable energy into the grid, by generating electricity while renewable generation is either low, intermittent, or not delivering in line with forecasts. Most flexible generation in the UK iscurrently provided by Combined Cycle Gas Turbines (CCGTs) or reciprocating engines.
Unlike other storage technologies such as batteries or pumped hydro, flexible generation can only provide export services to the electricity grid. However, flexible generation can sustain delivery over long periods without the risk of running out of stored energy. This provides vital security to the UK power system, whether that be in response to a shortage in generation or an increase in overall demand.
How we use flexible thermal generation
Flexible generation provided by reciprocating engines is designed to ramp up from a standstill to full capacity within a matter of minutes (typically less than 10 minutes) and complement the fast-acting services of batteries. Our projects are designed to deliver improved power density and efficiency, significantly reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
Owing to their speed and security, flexible generators will be needed to continue providing capacity for the foreseeable future.
All our flexible generation plants have a roadmap to transition their fuel source by switching from natural gas to hydrogen in order to support the Government’s target for decarbonising the power sector by 2035. To enable this transition we are actively developing both hydrogen production and storage projects.
Our Flexible Generation projects
Our other hydrogen technologies
Our other technologies