The fully automated 6MW/10MWh Smarter Network Storage (SNS) battery technology project will provide frequency regulation as well as load shifting and stabilise the grid much more effectively than traditional thermal generators, providing more space on the grid for clean, but intermittent renewable energies. According to the companies, this could save over £6 million over traditional network reinforcement methods.
The project will be installed at a primary substation in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, in order to assess the role of energy storage in cost effectively delivering the UK’s carbon plan. 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.
In contrast to other electrical storage projects, the SNS project will demonstrate storage across multiple parts of the electricity system, outside the boundaries of the distribution network. It 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 £13.2 million by Ofgem, under The Low Carbon Networks (LCN) Fund scheme in December 2012 and will last four years, from January 2013 to December 2016.
S&C Electric Europe is the lead supplier to the project, being led by UK Power Networks.
“The major grid challenges from the UK’s decarbonisation can be met through energy storage’s inherent ability to reinforce the network,” said Andrew Jones, MD, S&C Electric Europe. “But currently there are limited large-scale energy storage projects here, leaving a confidence gap. This practical demonstration promises to show the strengths and limitations of storage and unlock its potential as a key technology for the transition to low carbon energy.”
"If we are serious about transitioning to a renewables-based energy economy, adding more, and intelligent, storage to the grid quickly is key,” said Clemens Triebel, founder and speaker of the board of Younicos. “[...] We’re eager to show how industrially available batteries can be integrated into existing grids economically today, and help effectively balance intermittent renewable generation, allowing us to switch off CO2-intensive thermal plants when they aren’t needed.”
Research from Imperial College identifies savings from energy storage of £3 billion a year by the 2020s, based on the deployment of 2GW of energy storage. The value increases significantly with increasing proportions of renewable generation, with savings of £10 billion a year identified towards 2050, based on 25GW of capacity.