Energy Transition & Grid Support

Repurposing Existing Generators

Article lead image
Tolk Power Station - photo courtesy of EME Engineering Inc.

As more inverter based renewable energy resources are added to electrical power grids around the world, traditional fossil fuel or nuclear power plants are being decommissioned and we are losing the reactive power, inertia and fault current provided by these large rotating devises.

It is possible to repurpose the existing steam turbine and generator from the plant so it operates as a synchronous condenser. Existing grid connections and control systems are maintained and conversion is lower cost than a new plant and quicker to implement.

A recent report commsioned by the Australian Renewable Energy Authority (ARENA) highlighted the following potential benefits:

  • Faster implementation times than procuring new synchronous condensers in a tightening international market – repurposing could potentially be achieved in 12-24 months at some sites with new investments taking 30+ months,

  • Larger scale, given that the existing generators typically have higher ratings than new SCs, and

  • In most cases, lower costs than new synchronous condensers.

With the addition of an SSS Clutch, the turbine can return to generation when required or you can install a more efficient prime mover. SSS can help advise how a clutch can be added to an existing installation so that you can repurpose your old power plant and help with Energy Transition.