The challenge
  • National Grid identified an increasing need for reactive power absorption in the area due to several factors, such as the increased integration of low carbon power sources.
  • Having the correct amount of reactive power in the system is critical to manage voltage levels, provide network resilience and improve efficiency.
  • Low carbon energy sources don’t provide or absorb reactive power in the same way as traditional fossil fuel plants which are being phased out.
  • We needed to find a different approach from traditional reactive power solutions that could be accomplished to spec at a reasonable budget.
The solution
  • We designed, installed and managed a 200MVAr shunt reactor.
  • The 200-tonne reactor was installed at Frodsham substation in 2020 and went live in May 2022 with a planned asset lifespan of 40 years.
  • We oversaw every aspect of the project from start to finish and coordinated both land agreements and planning applications.
  • We sourced all civil, mechanical, and electrical contractors, working under our own project management, to successfully install the reactor.
  • When a problem arose during installation, we deployed a military style “Bailey bridge” to facilitate a river crossing and get the equipment into position.
  • The project was sold in 2023 to Downing Renewables & Infrastructure Trust for £11 million.
  • We have a continuing role managing the asset on a day-to-day basis for the new owner, including regular inspection and maintenance, annual outages and all of the interfaces with Ofgem, NGESO and NGET.