Germany’s Younicos – a Berlin-based developer of intelligent storage systems and grid solutions – will supply and design a 49 MW lithium-ion storage system in England, scheduled to be completed by winter 2018.
The battery system will be one of the largest in the world once complete, and is being overseen by British energy provider Centrica. It will be installed at the former Roosecote coal and gas plant in Barrow-in-Furness in the north of England, and is being developed as part of a nationwide U.K. push to augment the country’s energy storage capabilities.
Younicos will supply the battery systems as well as the software required to ensure the storage project meets the various demands of the U.K.’s transmission system operator (TSO). The lithium-ion batteries are intelligently controlled to enable smooth and rapid ramp up of reserve supply as and when required, evening-out short-term power fluctuations and enabling greater integration of renewable energy sources.
"We are grateful for Centrica’s trust in Younicos and proud to lead the charge in the transformation of energy systems worldwide," said Younicos CEO Stephen L. Prince. "With prices for renewable power as well as for battery technology in steep and continuous decline, battery storage systems are the best solution to quickly build more flexible, stable and cost-effective grids."
The CEO added that the project offers the perfect opportunity to demonstrate in real world conditions the efficacy and technical and economic value of batteries in meeting peak demand, while also offering an improved grid resiliency for U.K. energy customers.
Younicos has supplied more than 150 MW of batteries globally, chiefly in the commercial sector providing critical grid services and frequency regulation. The German-American firm has already overseen a 6 MW smarter network storage project in England.
Having had its wings clipped by regressive government policies these past 18 months, the U.K.’s solar industry has seen its growth slashed severely. The market will grow by more than 1.5 GW this year largely due to the first quarter (Q1) installation rush, but the picture looks rather bleak in 2017.
However, support for storage technologies – long seen as an ideal complementary technology for solar – has been encouraging, with the government recently awarding 500 MW of storage projects at auction via the National Grid.
The U.K.’s capacity auction has incentivized new investments in storage projects, of which this 49 MW system from Centrica was one of the winning bids. The mechanism of the auction pitches various forms of capacity against each other, to bid for incentives to offer electricity at the lowest price possible during times of low supply – and the success of storage this time around is testament to the increasing cost-competitiveness of batteries as technologies improve.
"Falling battery costs and increasing the need for flexibility to support intermittent renewables has brought battery storage into commercial reality," said Centrica’s MD of distributed energy and power business Jorge Pikunic. "Grid scale battery storage can play an important role in helping to manage second-by-second fluctuations in demand, helping to keep the grid stable."