Europe’s Largest Energy Storage Trial Launched

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By Andrew Jones, Managing Director, EMEA at S&C Electric Company

The commercial future of energy storage was recently invigorated with the launch of Europe’s largest intelligent network storage project by S&C Electric Europe, Samsung SDI, and Younicos, onto a UK Power Networks substation. The $28.6 million project will store as much as 10 megawatt-hours of power, and save over £6 million ($9.6 million) on traditional network reinforcement methods.

This trial of the largest battery in Europe is due to start in Bedfordshire in the UK. It aims to transform the UK electricity grid while boosting renewable energy and helping the UK develop the commercial-scale energy storage it needs to add wind and solar plants, which provide intermittent power flows.

Storage technology has traditionally been difficult to translate from small devices to the larger scale needed to balance demand and supply on the UK’s national grid. However, research from Imperial College London identifies savings from energy storage of £3bn ($4.8 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 ($16 billion) a year identified towards 2050, based on 25GW of capacity. Projects such as this demonstrate the benefits of storage while provide the industry with a greater understanding of the business case and full economics of energy storage.

Andrew Jones, Managing Director, S&C Electric Europe, said:

“The major grid challenges from the UK’s decarbonization can be met through energy storage’s inherent ability to reinforce the network.  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.”

The fully automated 6MW/10MWh Smarter Network Storage (SNS) battery technology provides frequency regulation as well as load shifting, which will stabilize the grid much more effectively than traditional thermal generators, providing more space on the grid for clean, but intermittent renewable energies. The technology will also 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 also aims to carry out a range of technical and commercial innovation to facilitate the more efficient and economic adoption of storage. By contrast to other electrical storage projects, it will demonstrate storage across multiple parts of the electricity system, outside the boundaries of the distribution network. By demonstrating this multi-purpose application of 6MW/10MWh of energy storage, 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 design includes potential expansion to about 18 megawatt-hours, and has already been awarded funding of £13.2 million ($21.1 million) by UK energy regulator Ofgem.


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