AMP Clean Energy secures planning for 50 MW of flexible Urban Reserve plants to support decentralised energy ambitions

Construction begins in Romney

Distributed energy company, AMP, has announced it has secured planning for 50 MW of its market-leading Urban Reserve flexible generation plants in areas of high demand, providing energy when and where it is needed most across local distribution networks.

Energy turnkey solutions provider, Vital Energi, has been appointed to deliver the first four projects, which are already in construction.

The 13 plants – which are being developed across the country – are designed to both support the growth of intermittent renewables by providing on-demand electricity to keep the system balanced, and to help provide additional capacity in places of high demand, such as urban and commercial areas.

Following the recent major power cut on 9 August, the need for a decentralised, flexible system to both help the UK transition towards net zero and to provide emergency power in the event of a major outage was highlighted, as Mark Tarry, Managing Director at Urban Reserve, comments:

National Grid’s final report into the power cut on 9 August recommended that a review into the amount of emergency power available is needed to avoid blackouts happening in the future – particularly as we head to a net zero future, which will put increased pressure on the resilience of the grid.

“Decentralised, flexible generation will therefore play a critical role in helping the UK transition towards its net zero ambitions in the most cost-effective way, while providing much-needed support for the grid. Urban Reserve plants are connected at a local level and can swiftly respond to maintain the balance between supply and demand.

“Smaller-scale distributed energy is making an ever increasing contribution towards the UK’s energy requirements. As supply becomes more intermittent and demand rises to power commercial use, electric vehicle charging and, in the future, the electrification of heat, these small-scale plants will be critical to keeping the system balanced and avoiding expensive network reinforcement.

“Our ambition for Urban Reserve in 2019 was to deliver 40-50MW low-carbon projects, so we’re delighted to have secured planning for all 13 of the plants, with the first four sites already under construction.”

One of the first plants under construction is the 2.3MW facility in Romney Warren, which was announced following UK Power Network’s flexibility auction in July. As well as providing power to the local network, the plants will also have the potential to supply heat and power to local businesses and residents in the future.

Mark Tarry continues: “It was a real achievement to be awarded the contract as part of the UK’s biggest competitive tender for flexible energy. That said, to achieve the full potential of distributed generation, more networks must now focus efforts on anticipating future demand growth and pinpointing hot spots for future constraints. This would help to provide clear market signals for investment in flexible generation, when and where it is needed most. With the UK’s eyes now firmly on net zero, flexible solutions that ensure demand peaks are manageable will be vital.”