Statera announced as partner on 1 GW virtual power plant in the UK

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Norwegian hydropower company Statkraft has revealed more details of its 1 GW virtual power plant (VPP) in the U.K. and announced independent power producer Statera as its project partner.

Statkraft, which describes itself as “Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy”, in March unveiled details of a VPP which would include solar and wind power, battery storage and fast-reacting gas generation facilities to plug any gaps in supply.

At that point no mention was made of Statera but the U.K. company was yesterday announced as Statkraft’s partner for the ambitious project under a 15-year arrangement.

Under the terms of the partnership, Statera will provide 50 MWh of battery storage plus “gas reciprocating engines” which can be quickly brought into action to make good any shortfall in energy supply.

Statkraft, which said it can draw upon a 3.8 GW renewables generation portfolio in the U.K., will provide the VPP and its associated energy trading platform.

Track record in Germany

The Norwegian hydro company – which claims to have had a VPP in Germany connecting 100 PV facilities, 1,300 wind farms and hydro and bioenergy projects operational since 2012 – said its VPP could herald the path to the net zero carbon economy envisaged by U.K. prime minister Theresa May in 2050.

“Statkraft recognizes the importance of flexible power generation for the provision of secure energy supply in the years to come, until multi-day, mass energy storage becomes economically viable,” said Duncan Dale, head of Statkraft’s markets business in the U.K., in a press release issued yesterday. “It is vital that any new generation capacity is highly efficient and ultra-flexible, like Statera’s.”

He added: “Everything about these projects suggests that new efficiencies can be made, which means lower carbon emissions and lower costs to the consumer. The energy market and the U.K.’s transition to a low carbon future should benefit greatly from unlocking this potential.”

The announcement of the VPP in March mentioned the network could double in capacity by the end of summer but no mention was made of that ambition in yesterday’s statement.