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VEO innovation integrates energy storages in hydropower plants

The transition to low-emission energy production is revolutionising electrical power generation systems and the market. VEO is responding to this by developing innovative solutions to support the green transition, which is in line with the group’s renewed strategy. VEO has now developed a solution for hydropower plants that combines the energy production of a hydropower turbine and electrical energy storage. The solution, based on VEO’s hybrid digital turbine governor, will be implemented in projects being run by Kemijoiki Oy and Helen Oy.

VEO’s most recent R&D innovation improves the ability of energy companies to meet the evolving requirements of the energy market. It does this by maintaining the frequency containment reserve capacity of hydropower plants and by expanding their usage into new frequency reserve markets. The innovation will also significantly reduce mechanical wear on the hydropower plant turbine.

Already in 2020, VEO initiated a development project at the Mankala hydropower plant at Kymijoki in collaboration with Helen Oy’s subsidiary Mankala Oy, in which simulations and measurements were performed utilising hydropower turbines. The obtained measurement data was analysed together with Helen, and because of the encouraging results, the development project has continued. Now, VEO and Helen have signed an agreement, under which VEO will supply a hybrid digital turbine governor to the Mankala plant and integrate an electrical energy storage system acquired by Helen into the power plant’s electrification and automation systems.

“With the Mankala energy storage project, we expect the hydropower plant’s service and maintenance costs to decrease and our capacity to better serve our clients in the midst of the energy revolution to increase. Energy storage solutions will be crucial in the energy systems of the future and will bring the increased flexibility which renewable electricity production and electrification require. Mankala’s energy storage project is also a concrete example of actions that will take us towards our goal of being a carbon-neutral energy company in 2030”, says Kristiina Siilin, Business Development Manager at Helen Oy.

Pilot project also with Kemijoki Oy

VEO’s solution will be implemented at Kemijoki Oy’s Kurkiaska power plant during the plant’s refurbishment. VEO’s turnkey delivery will include the digital hybrid turbine governor and the integration of the governor and a super capacitor-based energy storage system into the power plant’s systems. Simulations of the overall solution and the dimensioning of the energy storage system are essential parts of the delivery.

“As a pioneer in hydropower, we want to try something new. By combining the strengths of hydropower and energy storage systems utilising VEO’s solution, we aim to ensure that our role as a key source of low-emission and renewable balancing power is maintained and strengthened”, says Kemijoki Oy’s COO Sakke Rantala.

Strong evidence from simulation tests

With these projects, VEO advances from the idea stage to the implementation phase in their development process of combining hydropower and energy storage solutions. The goal of the development has been to combine energy storage with the frequency control of a hydropower turbine so that the storage supports the mechanical movement of the turbine.

“Based on the simulation tests performed, we firmly believe that the new hybrid turbine governor will be able to meet future stricter frequency support requirements by maximising the reserve production capacity of the plant while significantly reducing mechanical wear resulting from the frequency control”, explains Jukka Kelloniemi, Team Lead, Automation at VEO Oy.

The short-term storage capacity of the energy storage solution being integrated in both power plants will help the power plants respond to rapid deviations in electricity demand and production. Work at the Mankala plant will start in the summer of 2022 and the solution will be commissioned in the spring of 2023. In Kurkiaska, work will begin in the late summer of 2022 and commissioning will take place in the winter of 2023.

Juha Mäki, Sales Manager for VEO Oy’s Hydropower business segment, lists additional benefits of the projects.

“In these pilot projects, we will further optimise the cogeneration of VEO’s hybrid turbine governor and energy storage solutions. Using the experience we gain, we will be able to help our clients find the optimal solution for combining energy production and energy storage and scale their systems to ever larger solutions.

The hybrid governor can also improve the operation and recovery of power plants in various power grid disruptions. In this way, the production of renewable hydropower energy can be better utilised. This generates added value for the clients and meets the needs of the green transition in accordance with VEO’s strategy.”

For more information

Juha Mäki, Sales Manager, Hydropower, VEO Oy, juha.maki@veo.fi, +358 40 047 7930

More about the topic
Kemijoki Oy’s press release

The solution, based on VEO’s hybrid digital turbine governor, will be implemented in projects being run by Kemijoiki Oy and Helen Oy.