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Batteries at heart of UK electricity supply transformation

Fri, 03/10/2017 - 12:34 -- Xuan Zhong
Batteries at heart of UK electricity supply transformation

Three grid-scale projects are set to prove lithium-ion energy storage systems can help the UK move to smarter, cleaner energy.

Firstly, Tesla is supplying a 500kW battery for a project by Open Energi and Camborne Energy Storage (CES) to support National Grid’s Firm Frequency Response (FFR) market.

The battery and solar PV project in Somerset will allow peak shifting through Open Energi’s demand response software via its Dynamic Demand platform.

The battery should be performing peak-shifting duties by the end of March.

Dan Taylor, MD at CES said: “We have ambitious deployment targets for energy storage in the UK. This project demonstrates the vital role of energy storage in delivering secure, low carbon power to the UK.”

Meanwhile, two grid-scale lithium-ion EES projects are moving to the construction stage at sites in Cumbria and Kent in the UK.

Using batteries from LG Chem and energy management systems from NEC Energy Solutions, VLC Energy expects the 10MW Cleator and 40MW Glassenbury projects to be completed by Q4 2017.

The projects will be connected to the grid, but are not co-located sites.

VLC Energy is a joint venture between renewable energy investment company Low Carbon, and heat and power plant firm VPI Immingham.

The new company is reported to be investing £250million ($311million) into energy storage projects in the UK.

The energy storage plants were awarded contracts in National Grid’s Enhanced Frequency Response (EFR) tender process, as well as the Capacity Market Auction for delivery in 2020.

Both sites will account for 25% of the total EFR contract capacity awarded by National Grid.

A spokesman for VLC Energy told BBB the company had chosen lithium-ion because it was a proven technology.

The spokesman said: “Lithium- ion battery technology has revolutionised the industry and has allowed us to start harnessing the true potential of storage, whilst the R&D and competition in this market has meant that it has become cheaper and efficient enough for it to be deployed at scale globally.”

Last year BBB reported how concern was raised about the four-year EFR contracts and whether it would allow projects to be profitable.

A spokesman for VLC waved aside concerns saying the sites were secured by contracts within the Capacity Market Auction.

However, they added the company would continue to evaluate opportunities to maximise the value delivered by the battery storage sites.

Roy Bedlow, chief executive, at Low Carbon, said: “Renewable energy is playing an increasingly important role in the UK’s energy mix and as this role expands, the development of energy storage plants will be central to the future success of the UK’s energy network.”