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Wärtsilä: Gas engines could save UK up to $2.5bn by 2030

Fri, 12/07/2012 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

WartsilaUsing gas engines rather than conventional gas turbines could save the UK up to £550 million ($885 million) by 2020 and up to £1.54 billion by 2030 through reduced balancing costs incurred by National Grid, a report commissioned by Finnish manufacturer Wärtsilä through Redpoint Energy and Imperial College London found.

The modelling is based on replacing 4.8 GW of conventional combined cycle gas turbines (CCGTs) with 4.8G W of Wärtsilä gas engines. The report studied two scenarios for 2020 and 2030: a base wind scenario, including around 10 GW of offshore wind in 2020 and around 15 GW in 2030; and a high wind scenario with around 20 GW in 2020 and close to 40 GW in 2030.

In both scenarios, results of the modelling showed a significant reduction in balancing cost, proving that flexible gas generation can help to optimise amount of renewable energy deployed across the entire system.

The UK’s proposed capacity market, as proposed under the UK Electricity Market Reform (EMR) primarily focused on delivering adequacy, i.e. enough MWs to meet peak demand. "This focus is out-dated and not suitable in a world with high intermittency," said Melle Kruisdijk, director, market development, Wärtsilä Power Plants, warning it may deliver an inefficient 'part-loaded' flexibility solution, at higher cost to consumers.        

Balancing costs - flexibility provision (£million per annum, real 2011) 

 

2020

 

2030

 

   Wind level

  Base  

  High  

  Base  

  High  

  Costs - No gas engines

692

1008

834

2781

  Costs - With 4.8GW gas engines  

311

464

256

1244

  Cost saving

381

545

578

1537