ScottishPower in 'pioneering world first' after wind farm black-out boost

ScottishPower is claiming a global first after using energy from a South Ayrshire wind farm to “re-energise” part of the power grid.

The successful project, at Dersalloch windfarm in South Ayrshire, proves wind power can restore a ‘blacked-out’ section of the transmission network.
The successful project, at Dersalloch windfarm in South Ayrshire, proves wind power can restore a ‘blacked-out’ section of the transmission network.

The utility giant said the successful project, at the Dersalloch onshore wind farm, proved that wind power can restore a “blacked-out” section of the transmission network.

Black start restoration – the name given to the procedure used to restore power in the event of a total or partial shutdown of the transmission system – is typically reliant on traditional fossil fuels like coal and gas.

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Bosses at the ScottishPower Renewables operation believe that the “pioneering world first” has the potential to transform how power could be restored to the network.

The project also received part-funding from the Scottish Government and comes amid the countdown to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, pushed back by a year to November 2021 due to Covid-19.

Lindsay McQuade, chief executive of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “What we’ve achieved at Dersalloch is truly world-leading and highlights the crucial role renewables will play in creating a decarbonised modern, smart electricity system.

“It’s also a fantastic example of collaboration and innovation to deliver something exceptional that will change how renewables interact with the grid forever.

“As wind is now the cheapest form of electricity generation, innovating our wind farms to be responsive zero-carbon power stations that enhance the network, improve system resilience and help deliver the cleaner and greener future needed to achieve net zero makes sense.”

The project saw partner firm Siemens Gamesa Renewables Energy (SGRE) deploy the latest technology at the wind farm. ScottishPower Renewables and SGRE worked in collaboration with SP Energy Networks (SPEN) when it was time to interact with the grid.

Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “It is important that wind farms, which provided 73 per cent of Scotland’s renewable electricity generation, don’t only provide zero carbon energy, but can also deliver the technical services that older, now-closed power stations would have provided for the grid to deliver an effective ‘black start’ recovery in the event of a major power cut.

He added: “This technology will be vitally important, not just in Scotland and the UK, but worldwide.”

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