WORK on the construction of a new €50 million Synchronous Compensator will begin in Moneypoint Generating Station last this month as part of the ESB’s multi-billion Euro Green Atlantic development.
The new compensator will be the first in the country and will incorporate the world’s largest flywheel used for grid stability.
Due to the intermittency of wind energy, grid stabilisation technologies have an increasingly important role in a successful energy transition.
The synchronous compensator will enable the management of the transmission system safely and securely with a reduced dispatch of fossil fuel plant under constraints and reduced costs of transmission operations.
In a statement issued to the Clare Champion, the ESB stated is pleased to bring forward the Moneypoint Synchronous Compensator with flywheel as a cost effective and zero carbon solution in strengthening the stability and resilience of the Irish grid.
An ESB spokeswoman confirmed manufacturing of the main electrical and mechanical components commenced earlier this year, works on site will commence this month and installation of the main equipment will take place in April 2022.
Commissioning of the new plant is planned for mid-2022 and commercial operation in October 2022.
As part of ESB’s plan to transform Moneypoint into a green energy hub, it is investing almost €50 million in pioneering technology that will help Ireland’s renewable energy ambitions.
The construction of the Synchronous Compensator will enable higher volumes of renewables on the grid. Siemens Energy has been awarded the contract to carry out the construction and engineering works for the technology.
Synchronous Compensators are electrical devices that are used to manage the stability of the national grid including the relationship between voltage and current and the resilience of the system to sudden faults. Though a Synchronous Compensator does not generate electricity, it is essentially a large electric motor that is connected in a particular manner to allow it to act as a support to the system when required.
This allows the system operator, such as EirGrid in the Republic of Ireland, to manage the transmission system safely and securely with a reduced dispatch. As a result, this enables reduced carbon impact of transmission operations and reduced constraint costs.
The development at Moneypoint incorporates a large flywheel rotor – a heavy, rotating weight c.130t in a casing rotating under vacuum conditions to reduce friction losses that is, in turn, attached to the shaft of the motor.
This weight acts as a physical stabiliser on the system to automatically compensate for sudden short-term changes in the system.
If a fault occurs on the electricity network, the synchronous compensator counters its impact by allowing system protection for vital fractions of a second which enables generators on the system to respond – this is known as providing inertia.