National Grid ESO

Gresham House Energy Storage Fund and flexible energy specialist Flexitricity have announced that the UK’s largest battery is now live and is helping National Grid ESO to balance its grid.

The 75MWh energy storage system, located in Thurcroft, South Yorkshire, is being optimised by Flexitricity for revenue generation while helping National Grid ESO to balance supply and demand.

The asset went live in the Balancing Mechanism (BM) Reserve from Storage Trial and was then live in the BM immediately afterwards. The BM is a key tool National Grid ESO uses to balance supply and demand on the electricity system in real time. Through the BM, providers can offer to increase or decrease their generation or demand to help balance the system. Flexitricity monitors the BM round the clock from its 24/7 control room, and remotely alters the charge and discharge profile of the Thurcroft battery.

The project will also trade the battery in the wholesale markets and tender for frequency response services to help meet the nation’s energy needs and optimise revenue for the site. Flexitricity took the asset into National Grid ESO’s new Dynamic Containment frequency response service on day one and has been securing daily contracts at high value ever since.

The UK now boasts around 1GW installed battery storage capacity and the market needs further growth to facilitate a net zero energy system.

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Andy Lowe, director at Flexitricity, said: “Flexibility is a hugely important part of decarbonising the grid and batteries are an excellent source of flexibility. Investors are getting comfortable with the business case for energy storage and it’s great this year to be seeing a number of large batteries coming onto the system, providing more of the rapid response flexibility National Grid ESO needs to maintain system stability.

“In today’s markets, maximising value for battery assets requires a huge amount of expertise and agility. We have a proven track record here, and we’re delighted that Gresham House has entrusted us to optimize a number of their sites, including the flagship Thurcroft battery.

“I’m glad to say we’re off to a great start and have been able to optimise revenue for the battery across a range of markets, including securing high prices in the first ever tender round of the newly launched Dynamic Containment service.”

Ben Guest, managing director at Gresham House, adds: “We have plans to grow our energy storage portfolio, aiming for over 350MW in operational assets by the end of 2020. Great Britain needs at least 10GW in the next few years to enable the orderly transition to a renewables-led electricity market.

“In turn, we aim to contribute meaningfully to the UK’s 2050 net-zero ambitions, while achieving strong returns for our investors.

We divide our storage projects between a range of optimisation partners and decided to entrust Flexitricity with Thurcroft having worked with them successfully on a previous project.”