The vision for a new, clean and competitive UK steel industry took a step closer today (Tuesday 26th July) with the commissioning of the first of a nationwide network of mini-power stations, designed to feed steel plants with on-demand renewable energy.
This network is a key pillar of the GREENSTEEL strategy, being delivered by the GFG Alliance, a collaboration of several businesses owned by Sanjeev Gupta (Liberty House) and his father PK Gupta (SIMEC).
Liberty Steel and SIMEC Power, have worked together to create the first of an eventual network of 14 ‘peaking plants’ which will be located next to the Group’s high energy consuming industrial sites across the UK. They will ensure continuation of low-cost, clean power supply during times of peak demand or periods when solar and wind power are not delivering.
The first of these innovative installations – a 9MW plant driven by biofuel – was formally inaugurated today (July 26th) at Liberty Steel Newport by the newly-appointed Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates.
Steel used in the construction of the unit was manufactured at the same plant in Newport, which itself was re-opened by the Liberty Group last October and is now part of the GFG Alliance’s growing portfolio of steel, energy and engineering sites across the UK.
Today’s inauguration is part of SIMEC’s renewable energy ‘Centre of Excellence’ at Newport. SIMEC owns and operates the adjacent 395 MW power station at Uskmouth.
SIMEC’s initial roll out of 14 strategically-located peaking plants could have a combined capacity of 200MW of biofuel-generated power focused on geographical areas of high industrial demand. The units will have the capability to deliver on demand power to the grid or to the industrial site within eight seconds.
Using technological advances in biofuel blending and the re-use of waste heat from industrial activities, SIMEC aims to achieve optimum efficiency from the peaking plants.
Mr Skates undertook the symbolic switch-on of the first unit during a combined visit to Liberty Steel Newport and the neighbouring SIMEC Uskmouth Power station.
He said: “I was pleased to visit the SIMEC and Liberty Steel site in Newport this week and officially switch on the first of their new renewable energy installations. This type of investment in renewable energy and steel production is to be applauded and I very much welcome this innovative approach.”
SIMEC Chief Executive, Jay Hambro, said: “On a cold, still winter’s day, when neither solar nor wind power could be operational, SIMEC’s peaking plants can provide on-demand power to UK industry as required. GREENSTEEL is an exciting new blueprint for British industry and clean energy is right at the heart of that plan. These peaking units represent just one part of a wave of energy innovation we plan to bring forward to underpin this bold strategy.”