Siemens Energy will provide a full turnkey package including, design, build and a five-year maintenance package. The three projects, located at Ballyvouskill in County Cork, Ballynahulla in County Kerry, and Thurles, County Tipperary, will be built concurrently, with construction due to begin in the coming months. The projects will take two years to complete.
As the lead contractor for the projects, Siemens Energy will work with local contractors on the civil work needed, and it is anticipated around 100 local jobs will be supported across the three project sites.
Nick O’ Mahony, Managing Director, Siemens Energy Ireland, said: “Globally, Siemens Energy has vast experience in helping grid operators strengthen grid resilience. These projects, combined with the recent synchronous condenser project at Moneypoint, will play a vital role in keeping the lights on across the country.”
Dave Dwyer, Networks Project Manager, Engineering and Major Projects at ESB, said: “These are the very first STATCOM’s to be deployed by ESB Networks on the Transmission System and we are delighted to work with Siemens Energy on this project. These projects will make a significant contribution to meeting Ireland’s ambitious renewables targets and help decarbonise the electricity grid as a whole.”
As the energy transition proceeds at pace, many large power plants, which would have provided reactive power, are being decommissioned and replaced with renewable generation. This means grid operators around the world are responding by building STATCOM systems to help keep the grid stable despite the increase in fluctuating power supplies from renewable and distributed energy sources.
Reactive power supports grid voltage during long-distance large-scale power transmission. By using reactive power, the grid voltage can be increased or decreased, and electricity can be efficiently transmitted.
STATCOM systems stabilise fluctuations in the grid by absorbing or feeding in voltage-supporting reactive power, depending on the requirements. This approach significantly reduces the risk of voltage drops and blackouts.