A peaking power plant is an electricity generating power station designed to help balance the fluctuating power requirements of the electricity grid. These plants generally only operate during periods of high electricity demand.
The key attributes for an effective peaking station are flexibility and rapid response as the plant must be able to ramp up from standby to full output within minutes of receiving a start-up request from the National Grid. As greater levels of intermittent generation come online, typically from renewable technologies such as wind and solar PV, there is more need than ever before for operational peaking power plants to assist in matching electricity supply with demand.
In order to operate effectively, peaking power stations typically employ containerised reciprocating engines and generator sets fuelled by either natural gas or diesel. Multiples of these containerised systems can be installed on a project site to create the required total generating capacity. The plants can be operated remotely thus negating the need for onsite staff.
In addition to the usual insurance considerations for electricity generating plant, peaking power stations have a particular focus placed on-site security, fire detection and suppression within the containerised units, and pollution in the case of diesel-fuelled systems which require a degree of onsite bulk storage.
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