Northern Powergrid, the electricity distributor for the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, is pioneering a smart energy future by using a £4 million battery to sell services to support the National Grid.
Since this September Northern Powergrid has been using the battery to maintain the electricity network at a stable frequency, the first time it has provided balancing services to National Grid. It is delivering the contract in partnership with Kiwi Power, the demand response and energy storage aggregator.
The 2.5MW (5MWh) battery, installed in Darlington, is the size of three storage containers and can store enough energy to power 2,500 houses for two hours.
National Grid spends £1 billion a year on balancing services, ensuring electricity supply and customer demand are matched second by second. Batteries can respond faster than any other technology and are reducing the need to keep fossil fuelled power stations on standby.
Jim Cardwell, Northern Powergrid’s Head of Trading and Innovation, said: “Batteries are set to transform the way we deliver and use electricity, and will play a key role in achieving the Government’s long-term vision for a smart, flexible, low-carbon energy system. We will use this project to learn how they can help us deliver best service to our customers.”
Melissa MacLennan, Commercial Development Manager at Northern Powergrid, said: “The electricity landscape is changing rapidly with the growth of renewables, batteries and electric vehicles. This project is a significant step in our evolution into a distribution system operator (DSO) with an active role in seizing the opportunities these technologies offer to cut the cost of running the electricity system, improve its reliability and reduce its carbon footprint.”
Battery storage is a key part of the Government’s plan to develop a smart energy system which could save £17 to £40 billion by 2050.*
The Darlington battery project is a key part of Northern Powergrid’s £30 million eight-year innovation programme aimed at improving the region’s power network and delivering more for less for its 8 million customers. Revenues earned will be reinvested to support other innovation projects.
The battery was originally used in Northern Powergrid’s £31 million Customer-Led Network Revolution (CLNR) smart grid innovation project, that included the UK’s first large scale trial of battery storage. The project set out to test and understand the role that energy storage technology could play as part of a range of innovative smart grid solutions by providing thermal, voltage and reactive power support to Northern Powergrid’s distribution network.
*Ofgem: Upgrading Our Energy System: Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan, July 2017