The Keith Greener Grid Park, which is billed as the first of several set to be built across the UK, is a project pioneered by Oslo-based Statkraft, which says it is Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy, in association with the National Grid Electricity System Operator (NGESO).
They say that, in a bid to address the need for grid stability, it uses two rotating stabilisers, manufactured by GE Power Conversion, to increase the amount of renewable energy that can used on the grid.
The Keith Greener Grid Park is one of three Statkraft projects being progressed in the area, with the Scottish Government having recently approved an extension to the Berry Burn Wind Farm that would mean it could power the equivalent of 35,500 additional homes in addition to the 48,000 it already provides.
Plans are also in progress for Craig Watch Wind Farm, about 8 kilometres south-east of Dufftown, while other Scottish projects being developed range from Energy Isles Wind Farm in Shetland to Knockcronal in South Ayrshire.
Michael Matheson, Scotland’s secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, was onsite to officially debut the project, whose “cutting-edge” technology mimics the spinning turbines of a traditional power station. The event was also attended by industry leaders, suppliers, and members of the local community.
Mr Matheson said: “The energy market has faced a huge challenge due to the unprecedented increase in global gas prices, and the government has been very interested in hearing about projects and developments that not only support the energy transition, but support cheaper power.
“One of the biggest instruments in decreasing the effects of the energy price hikes is to add more domestic and renewable resources to the power supply system. The Keith Greener Grid Park is a prime example of ways this can be done – and it was encouraging today to hear more from the technical team behind the trailblazing project.”
Guy Nicholson, head of grid integration at Statkraft UK, said: “The Keith Greener Grid Park is one of several projects that Statkraft is championing across the UK. Having worked across the country for more than 15 years, we are committed to supporting the UK’s ambition for green-energy and net-zero targets.
"The Keith Greener Grid Park is a huge step forward in helping [NGESO] to operate Great Britain’s electricity system carbon-free by 2025. Our grid network needs to adapt to accommodate the rapid increase in renewable energy generation.”
Statkraft also stresses its aim to help at grassroots level, establishing community liaison groups, providing opportunities for local investment, and generating “significant” economic and community benefits.
Mr Matheson added: “As part of my visit, I was pleased to hear from local businesses who have benefited from the work Statkraft is doing in Keith.
“This exciting project and the significant investment in the local economy will bring benefits for local supply chains while also helping put the region at the forefront of our continuing journey to put renewable energy at the centre of our journey to net zero.”