Distribution network operator Northern Powergrid has installed six energy storage devices with a combined capacity of 5.7MWh, making it one of the largest operating in Europe.

The storage devices are being tested on a live electricity network in the north and north east of England.

The aim of the trial is to see how the batteries can help balance the supply and demand of thousands of businesses and households in both rural and urban areas to see if the batteries would work as part of an overall smart grid solution.

Three of the devices have a capacity of 100kWh, two are 200kWh and the biggest has a capacity of 5MWh.

Ian Lloyd, network technology project manager at Northern Powergrid, said: “What makes this trial unique is both the size of our largest battery and the fact that, for the first time, we will be monitoring all six of the batteries and the networks they are on through an Active Network Management (ANM) control system developed for the project, called the Grand Unified Scheme (GUS).

“GUS allows us to view in real time when and where we need to release the ‘stored’ energy, as well as enabling autonomous control of the other network technologies that we are currently trialling.”

The largest 5MWh device will help meet the energy demands of 14,000 homes and businesses while the smaller batteries will support around 300 residential homes.

Lloyd said: “Customers across these networks won’t notice any changes in their energy supply, but are helping us explore new ways to tackle peak energy demand and support the widespread adoption of low carbon technologies.”

The trial is part of the Customer-Led Network Revolution (CLNR), a leading UK smart grid project, part funded by UK energy regulator Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund.

It is the largest of its kind in the UK and is being completed in partnership with British Gas, Durham University, Newcastle University and EA Technology.

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