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Europe’s largest battery storage project becomes operational in the UK

Published: 19 December 2014 - Marianne Evans

Europe’s largest battery storage project has been officially opened by Amber Rudd, Minister at Department for Energy and Climate Change at Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire. S&C Electric Europe, Samsung SDI and Younicos collaborated to deploy the technology onto a UK Power Networks substation.

The fully automated 6MW/10MWh Smarter Network Storage (SNS) project will assess the role of energy storage in cost effectively delivering the UK’s Carbon Plan, and save over £6m on traditional network reinforcement methods. S&C Electric Europe is the lead supplier to the £18.7m project, drawing on its extensive experience of deploying energy storage projects in the UK and around the world. Berlin-based Younicos contributed custom-built intelligent software architecture and components. By providing frequency regulation as well as load shifting, the project will stabilise the grid more effectively than traditional thermal generators, providing more space on the grid for clean, but intermittent renewable energies.

Andrew Jones, managing director, S&C Electric Europe, said: "Energy storage can play a major role in balancing the grid as it solves the problem of renewable intermittency by absorbing surplus power and releasing it when needed. This function simultaneously helps to securely balance capacity and supply and protects the grid from Stress Events (e.g. power outages) on the grid. The introduction of energy storage in substations like the one at Leighton Buzzard can decrease the need and cost of traditional reinforcement, such as transformers and cabling.”

Ben Wilson, UK Power Networks’ director of strategy and regulation and chief financial officer, said: “It’s exciting to be now starting the two-year trial and we will be testing a wide range of different services that storage can deliver to the network, and the wider electricity system. The project will allow us to explore and improve the economics of electrical energy storage, and assess the potential benefits to the electricity system in a number of sustainable and flexible ways. We have also been developing a first-of-a-kind platform to help us optimise and manage a wide range of different services that the storage can provide.”

Ben added: “This project will have an impact not only for the local area but also nationally and internationally. What we learn here from this exciting and important development will be vital for future similar schemes.”

Clemens Triebel, co-founder and chief technical officer, at Younicos said: “This ground-breaking project forcefully demonstrates the many revenue streams and savings that energy storage can enable today. We are particularly proud to have contributed our intelligent control software and experience in frequency regulation and battery management, which ensures that the battery system automatically reacts to price and other signals. Together with UKPN, S&C, and other partners, we are showing grid operators, utilities and other stakeholders both in the UK and around the world an effective way to cost-efficiently reinforce and improve grid infrastructure, while facilitating increased deployment of clean energy from wind and solar."

The technology can provide a range of benefits to the wider electricity system, including absorbing energy, then releasing it to meet demand, to help support capacity constraints and to balance the influx of intermittent and inflexible low carbon technologies onto the grid.

The project will explore the capabilities and value in alternative revenue streams for storage, whilst also deferring expensive conventional reinforcement measures, such as transformers, cable and overhead lines. The project was awarded funding of £13.2m by Ofgem in December 2012, under The Low Carbon Networks (LCN) Fund scheme and will last four years, from January 2013 to December 2016.

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