Largest Portfolio of Privately Owned Synchronous Condensers in UK
London – 29 November 2022 – Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners (“Quinbrook”), a specialist investment manager focused exclusively on the investment needed to deliver the energy transition, announced today the award of additional contracts by National Grid ESO, the electricity system operator of the UK, for two new synchronous condensers in Phase 3 of the Stability Pathfinder Programme (“Stability Pathfinder Phase 3”). National Grid’s Stability Pathfinder Programme commenced in 2019 (1) and offers fully inflation-indexed revenue contracts supporting the construction of new infrastructure aimed at improving grid stability. Quinbrook’s new synchronous condensers will provide critical grid support services enabling the safe and stable addition of more renewable energy to the UK power system.
“We view the UK’s electricity sector and its ‘Net Zero’ ambitions as a highly attractive infrastructure investment opportunity. We are investing in the next generation of critical infrastructure that directly addresses the real world challenges posed by the energy transition as renewable energy continues to expand in the UK. Crucially, our ‘whole of system’ investment philosophy puts the emphasis on addressing fundamental system needs and enablers for a stable transition to a decarbonised power system.”Rory Quinlan
Co-founder and Managing Partner
Quinbrook and its development partner Welsh Power, have been working on these two new projects (respectively located near Ashford and north of Cardiff – together, the “Severn Portfolio”) since early 2021 when suitable site locations were identified that could provide appreciable benefit to National Grid. When considering potential locations, Quinbrook prioritised sites adjacent to existing substations in locations across the UK with a critical need for stability services as older coal and gas plants are retired. The regeneration potential from creation of new jobs in these areas was also a key contributing factor in site determination.
Quinbrook expects to invest over GBP 192 million in constructing the Severn Portfolio alone. Once operational, the new assets are expected to provide 1,676 MVa of short circuit level (“SCL”), meeting 24 percent of National Grid ESO’s published requirements (2), and 8,326 MWs of inertia, representing 48.7 percent of the total procured by National Grid. Quinbrook will lead equipment specification and procurement of the new synchronous condensers and continue its policy to prioritise the use of local contractors and specialists during construction works. The Severn Portfolio alone is expected to support over 600 jobs during construction. Once operational, Quinbrook’s total synchronous condenser portfolio is expected to have supported over 1,500 jobs in Levelling Up Priority 1 regions across the UK.
These latest contracts build on the previous awards secured by Quinbrook in Stability Pathfinder Phases 1 and 2. Quinbrook’s first Synchronous Condenser, located at Rassau in Wales was also developed in partnership with Welsh Power, with equipment supplied by Siemens. Rassau commenced operations in February 2022, and was the only non-utility sponsored project to secure a contract in Stability Pathfinder Phase 1 (3). Since starting operations, Rassau has provided a range of critical support services to National Grid as intended and has operated with 100 percent availability.
“The fully inflation linked contracts offered by the Pathfinder Programme are a timely example of how specialist investors like Quinbrook can identify differentiated and value-add investments for our clients that deliver both attractive returns and inflation protection. These investments can also deliver real impact by supporting UK jobs and new investment in the communities around Sellindge and Cilfynydd, directly supporting the UK Government’s levelling up agenda to reduce geographic inequality across the country,” added Quinlan.
National Grid has awarded 51 (4) Stability Pathfinder contracts to projects which offer solutions to the stability issues arising due to the rapid energy transition and resulting decarbonisation of the UK power system (5). Quinbrook expects to now make a total investment in Stability Pathfinder projects exceeding GBP 430 million as it builds out the portfolio in England, Wales and Scotland over the next 2-3 years.
Alastair Fraser, Chief Executive of Welsh Power commented, “Our ongoing partnership with Quinbrook has enabled us to play a pivotal role in the UK energy transition and I am proud of our entire team and their efforts that has helped create this groundbreaking portfolio of critical infrastructure projects.”
The latest Phase 3 awards will add to Quinbrook’s growing portfolio of innovative UK businesses that directly support the energy transition in important areas, such as Flexitricity and Habitat Energy. These entrepreneurial businesses founded in the UK, reinforce Quinbrook’s strategic moves into the supply of critical flexible capacity, grid support infrastructure and intelligent battery storage optimization that enables more variable and weather-dependent renewables to be built to decarbonize the UK power system.
Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners (http://www.quinbrook.com) is a specialist investment manager focused exclusively on renewables, storage and grid support infrastructure needed to drive the energy transition in the UK, US, and Australia. Quinbrook is led and managed by a senior team of power industry professionals who have collectively invested c.USD 8.2 billion equity in energy infrastructure assets since the early 1990s, representing a total enterprise value of c.USD 28.7 billion or 19.5 GW of power supply capacity. Quinbrook has completed a diverse range of direct investments in both utility and distributed scale onshore wind and solar power, battery storage, reserve peaking capacity, biomass, fugitive methane recovery, hydro and flexible energy management solutions in the UK, US, and Australia. Quinbrook is currently developing and constructing some of the largest renewables and storage infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK, US, and Australia.
About Welsh Power
Welsh Power is an employee-owned business providing development and asset management services to flexible generation, storage, and grid stability markets.
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