The UK, like many countries around the world, has longstanding intentions to make its energy greener. The main drivers behind this are the climate crisis and fears over energy security (and prices) in the long term.
Renewable energy is of course an important cornerstone of the transition to greener energy generation. Among the most pervasive challenges are:
- Available resource.
- Cost of development.
- Integration with the grid.
Utilising renewable energy sources within existing electricity grids is a challenge for any country that is deploying renewables on a large scale . There are logistical challenges around incorporating a new technology into an existing grid. Furthermore, renewable energy sites in isolation are inherently more intermittent  than fossil fuel or nuclear plants. It has been argued that renewable development thus far has not made grids less reliable , ensuring the grid can get the most out of renewables remains a challenge that requires work going forward.
Power demands from a national grid are variable, and furthermore interruptions to the supply of the power can threaten the stability of the grid. Power plants that burn fossil fuels or utilise nuclear reactions are relatively well suited to maintaining stability in such circumstances, in part due to being able to store energy within large rotating turbines that are generating the electricity , such that there is a source to draw from in the event of an interruption. In the UK, power plants that burn coal or gas can be run purely to stabilise the grid, even if there is enough actual power being generated by clean sources to satisfy the requirement.
One of the more recent steps forward in terms of integrating renewable energy sources with the UK grid and overcoming the stability problem, is the Greener Grid Park project.
The Greener Grid Park
The first step will be in Scotland, where the Keith Greener Grid Park is planned, with further developments elsewhere in the UK to follow . The project is being taken forward by Statkraft UK and the National Grid Electricity System Operator (NGESO).
The project will see two rotating stabilisers produced by GE  installed. These giant machines, weighing over 200 tonnes, use flywheels to store energy produced by renewables which can then be used to stabilise the grid in place of a less clean solution like burning coal.
The goal here is to ensure that more power from renewable energy can be utilised by the UK power grid. Other sites earmarked for similar sites are in Liverpool, with potential for further sites elsewhere in the UK.
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Thumbnail image accreditation: Pok Rie (September 2016) on Pexels.com. Last accessed on 14th August 2022. Available at: https://www.pexels.com/photo/transmission-tower-under-gray-sky-189524/