Sonnen’s lithium-ion residential energy storage systems have been used in two virtual power plant (VPP) projects in the UK.
The German company— a wholly owned subsidiary of fossil fuel giant Shell— has supplied its 5kWh, 7.5kWh and 10kWh systems that are being used to deliver grid-scale services.
The first project, by Centrica, uses 100 Sonnenbatterie systems as part of a 5GW VPP for transmission operator National Grid. The VPP is made up of devices, appliances and assets including industrial batteries and machines.
The network of decentralised ESSs are aggregated in a cloud platform to deliver Dynamic Firm Frequency Response (FFR) services such as storing power during times of oversupply or as back-up power during peak demand.
A Centrica spokesman told BEST: “In many cases, home devices cannot meet all the requirements of National Grid and the requirements to provide specific balancing and reserve systems. However, when combined with other devices in a VPP this is possible, therefore allowing customers access to a proportion of the benefits of being part of the energy system/markets as a ‘real’ large power plant does, but without meeting every single requirement.”
The second project involves UK energy supply firm Ovo Group providing a paid flexibility service to UK distribution network operator Western Power Distribution (WPD).
The project has initially used around 20 5kWh Sonnenbatterie systems during the evening peak periods since starting in mid-December where they have been optimised
Kaluza, an Ovo group company, used artificial intelligence technology alongside WPD’s flexibility interface ‘Flexible Power’ to deliver a the service using a Sonnenbatteries in Lincolnshire, UK.
Kaluza discharged the batteries in automated response to live signals from WPD’s control centre, reducing localised network strain during peak periods over several weeks.
Kaluza uses AI and machine learning to intelligently control the energy use of domestic devices including batteries, electric car chargers and heaters including Dimplex.
The company receives real time signals from grid operators on supply levels, pricing and weather forecasting, and combines it with information about when and how the device is needed by the customer. It then shifts energy consumption away from demand peaks, when energy is cheaper and there is lower carbon output from the grid. It is helping build a system whereby grid operators can call on the flexibility within residential assets to alleviate local stress points and utilise more renewable generation.
Conor Maher-McWilliams, head of flexibility at Kaluza, said: “This milestone clearly demonstrates how domestic flexibility, alongside new innovative markets like Flexible Power, can play a vital role in the transition to a smart, resilient grid.”
Ben Godfrey, WPD’s network strategy manager said: “There is acute pressure on grid operators to find innovative ways to accommodate the UK’s growing electricity demand, without having to build larger networks. Technologies like Kaluza’s, that are able to securely connect and scale to many different IoT devices, create an exciting opportunity for the UK’s future energy system. We look forward to seeing the full impact that flexible technology can have as we push towards net-zero.”