New battery storage projects spark to life in the UK

Two battery storage sites have been unveiled in the UK, which represent the largest such projects to be connected to the electricity grid.

 

Two battery storage sites have been unveiled in the UK, which represent the largest such projects to be connected to the electricity grid.

50 megawatts (MW) of battery storage has been commissioned this week, across two sites in England: a 40MW in Kent and a further 10MW park in Cumbria. The two projects will be used to help the UK’s National Grid manage supply and demand at a lightning, sub-second pace.

The projects are being run by VLC Energy, a joint venture between investors Low Carbon and the power plant VPI Immingham.

Roy Bedlow, Chief Executive of Low Carbon, said: “Energy storage is critical to managing the demands on the grid, ensuring consumer needs are met and increasing our reliance on low carbon forms of electricity generation. These sites will help us tackle climate change and help the UK realise a cleaner and more energy efficient future.”

The two sites won a combined £15m contract from the National Grid in a 2016 auction to procure a total of 200MW of new battery storage. The technology is seen as vital for the UK to make the transition to a low-carbon economy; it is estimated that electricity storage in total could grow to 6 gigawatts by 2020.

National Grid quantitative analysis manager Leon Walker said: "Using battery storage is a significant development for managing the national grid. It's an ultra-fast way of keeping electricity supply and demand balanced. 

"Over four years we estimate that this service will save the system operator around £200m. This is good news for consumers who benefit from our cost efficiencies, and paves the way for battery technology to establish itself as an important component of our energy system." 

Image Credit: VLC Energy

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