U.K.’s first grid battery energized in Orkney


Perth, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — August 21, 2013 – Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) has connected the U.K.’s first large scale battery to the local electricity distribution network on Orkney, as part of a trial project to investigate the role of large scale batteries in the release of capacity on the electricity distribution network and in resolving the intermittency issues affecting renewable generation.

The 2 MW lithium-ion battery has been developed by Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and will be operated by SSE Generation. It is installed at Kirkwall power station and builds on the innovative work already carried out by SHEPD in delivering the world’s first active network management scheme in Orkney in 2009.

The battery will operate through signals sent by the existing active network management scheme by absorbing and storing excess renewable energy that would otherwise be constrained from the network. Since 2009, the active network management has allowed a significant volume of renewable wind generation to connect to the grid at a reduced cost to renewable generators and within a shorter timescale.  

The lithium-ion technology used in the battery has been extensively proven at similar scale elsewhere in the world, including a similar trial run by Mitsubishi which has been continuously running for the past two years in Nagasaki, Japan, and is increasingly being used in electric vehicles. SHEPD will continue to work closely with Mitsubishi and SSE Generation throughout the duration of the trial.
“This exciting trial will provide valuable research into the viability of using batteries for electricity storage,” said SHEPD’s head of commercial, Mark Rough. “This is likely to become increasingly important to help balance the variable output from renewable forms of generation as we move to a largely decarbonized electricity generation mix.”

Although the installation of the battery will not provide an immediate solution to the current constraints on the Orkney distribution network, it is hoped that in the long term the result of the studies will help demonstrate that batteries could provide a cost effective way of freeing up capacity on the network to help facilitate new connections of low carbon generation.

The trial of the battery is being funded by Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund which supports projects by electricity distribution network operators to try out new technology, operating and commercial arrangements.