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The shift from energy generation in traditional thermal power plants to a new and more flexible energy landscape has created a number of challenges. 


2017 – 2022

Project Status


About the Project

About the Project

Maintaining stability in the system has become a major concern within the UK transmission network.  The spinning mass located within conventional thermal power stations, which has provided stability in the past, will be replaced by renewable energy, such as windfarms.  Existing technology, such as a static compensator alone, cannot maintain the quality and resilience of supply expected by our customers.  One of the proposed solutions that will help maintain the quality and resilience of supply in a low-carbon world is the Phoenix project.

Phoenix is an innovative project which will address the technical, engineering and commercial challenges which are seen as the main barriers for the roll-out of Hybrid Synchronous Compensators.   The project will be providing dynamic voltage control, inertia and short circuit level in light of diminishing synchronous generation by combining two existing technologies, Synchronous Condensers and Static Compensators referred to within the project as Hybrid- Synchronous Compensator.

A Hybrid Synchronous Compensator consists of the joining of two pre-existing technologies, STATCOM and Synchronous Condenser, with an innovative master control system.  Combining the rotating with the static, the fast response time with the stable power supply, the two technologies will complement each other to help provide services which we are losing from thermal power stations.

The closure of thermal power stations is creating issues within the system that risk the security and stability of electricity supply to customers including;

Reduced inertia

The closure of these large synchronous generating plants is reducing overall inertia within the GB network. Phoenix will demonstrate how inertia can be reintroduced.

Limited voltage control

Voltage control is becoming limited as synchronous generating plant is used for this.  Phoenix will provide more control over voltage in the network within its capability.

Lower Short Circuit Level

Short circuit level is important as it is needed to operate protection correctly. The loss of large generating plant reduces short circuit level, meaning electrical protection may not operate.

Ultimately, Phoenix will aid with the transition to a future GB transmission network that can benefit from clean energy resources without compromising the security and quality of supply to the customers.

Check out the video below for more information on Project Phoenix


Project Objectives

The objectives of Phoenix are to demonstrate a sustainable design, deployment and operational control of a Synchronous Compensator with innovative hybrid co-ordinated control system combined with a static compensator referred to in the project as Hybrid-Synchronous Compensator.

The concept and live trial of Hybrid Synchronous Compensators will demonstrate the technical and economic advantages of deploying this technology with the aim of encouraging future rollout across the GB network.

As a world’s first, the project remains at the leading edge of global engineering innovation with its hybrid approach to these technologies, and the live trial will demonstrate the combined benefits of these and their value in real network conditions.


The Benefits For Customers

The cumulative benefits of the roll-out of H-SC technology by 2030 will;

  • Enhance system stability helping to reduce power cuts.
  • Reduce the electricity network operating costs with a Net Present Value estimated at around £42m.
  • Release an additional capacity of 662MW to the Electricity Network. This will allow additional Renewable Energy to be connected to the network.
  • Minimise the carbon footprint by saving just over 62k tonnes of carbon which is equivalent to the electricity use of over 6,000 homes.
  • Develop commercial mechanisms to incentivise the roll out of H-SC technology within the UK
  • Impact analysis for the roll-out of H-SCs at various locations throughout the UK Network, to benefit a renewable low carbon network

From recent studies of the H-SC at Neilston, we are seeing the following benefits;

  • Based on FES 2018 Community Renewables Scenario, the H-SC increases the B6 boundary transfer from 2023 onwards by 45 MW to 90 MW
  • This boundary increase results in the net cost benefit that can be achieved being £53m to £66m over the asset’s life period

The next steps are to increase the studies to look at increased capacity of H-SC and further locations within the GB Network


Project Partners

National Grid ESO, ABB, University of Strathclyde and The Technical University of Denmark

Reports & Documents

Closedown event

Introduction to event

  • SP Energy Networks - Eric Leavy – Introduction and overview of project


  • Hitachi Energy - Richard Rivas – H-SC design and build, and live trial results and learnings
  • National Grid Electricity System Operator – Jay Ramachandran– Overview of research in the project i.e. system studies and lessons learned
  • University of Strathclyde - Qiteng Hong - Overview of the research conducted for the project
  • Technical University of Denmark (DTU) - Guangya Yang– Overview of the research conducted for the project
  • Market Specialist – John West – summary of Commercial working group (CWG) and commercial outputs


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