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Former colliery set to help UK achieve net-zero

Published: 16 February 2021 - Rachael Morling

Ylem Energy has commissioned a new flexible power generation site at a former colliery, Sutton Manor, in Merseyside. It is the latest in a series of flexible power generation sites around the North West of England being used to balance the national grid during times of peak demand.

A leading flexible energy generation and storage specialist, the Salford-based company has managed the St Helens site since the colliery closed in 1991, extracting gas from the old mine workings to generate power.
 
But the methane gas produced by the redundant colliery has run out and the mine workings have now been capped by Ylem, which has installed 3MW of electrical generation plant fuelled by natural gas as part of a series of developments which will provide essential flexible power generation capacity across the UK.
 
Ian Gadsby, managing director of Ylem Energy, said: “These types of systems are an essential component in securing the UK’s energy future, helping to balance the grid and supporting the drive towards the net-zero carbon emissions target.
 
“Ylem will continue to support the site’s owner, the UK Coal Authority, and will maintain the power output from the old colliery.”
 
Ylem has also installed state-of-the art monitoring equipment to the capped-off mine shafts to ensure that the residual gas levels can be safely monitored and maintained. The generation plant that has been replaced at the site, is also due to be overhauled by Ylem’s engineering team and redeployed as a part of the firm’s sustainability strategy.
 
Mr Gadsby added: “This fast-responding flexible power is essential to help balance the national grid during times of peak demand, especially when the output from fluctuating renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power is low.”
 
Following the installation of a new natural gas pipeline to supply the site from the gas grid, the existing 11kV electrical grid connection is being used to export the power generated, while safety systems have been brought up to the newer G99 standards.
 
Owned and operated by Ylem, the new generators – consisting of two units rated at 2MW and 1MW respectively – have been repurposed from Ylem’s own fleet of landfill-gas-generation systems. Refurbished in-house by the company’s team of engineers, the systems have been installed, tested and commissioned in preparation for their contribution towards the UK’s drive towards decentralisation.
 
Ylem has brought over 30MW of flexible power generation online in the last year and the energy generation and storage specialist has an overall target of building a company portfolio of 150MW.
 
 
 


 
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