U.K: Local government invest in partnership with British energy firm Centrica


One of the U.K.’s largest battery schemes has been completed, after installations by Centrica on several buildings owned by Gateshead Council in Northern England. The project was developed so as to enable the storage of energy for use by the Gateshead District nergy Centre. It holds a state-of the-art battery made up of six units with a total capacity of 3 MW. This for example would be enough to power 3000 homes for an hour.

The scheme will allow the provision of power in line with demand, showing the impressive flexibility R&D centres have provided, with the battery allowing the centre to respond to changes in local demand in under a second.

Centrica have confirmed that once commissioned, they will take charge of the project in “providing various flexibility services for the grid which help keep the national electricity network in balance.”

The public properties will be supplied with electricity through a private wire, notably to council owned buildings, which include Gateshead College and the Sage Gateshead Concert Venue.

Alan Barlow, UK&I Director for Centrica Distributed Energy and Power said: “The Gateshead Energy Centre is a ground-breaking scheme and an impressive demonstration of how distributed energy solutions can generate cost savings, strengthen resilience, by bringing together battery storage and other energy technologies.”

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According to Centrica, a pair of 2 MW heat and power combining units already power the Gateshead District Energy Centre, which generate enough electricity to power 5,000 homes, with this power being “distributed via a private wire network consisting of high voltage electricity cables, while waste heat from the engines is recovered to provide hot water for heating via a 3km network of heat pipes.”

“This battery installation completes the wider District Energy Scheme, which will provide low cost heat and power to homes, organisations and businesses in central Gateshead,” said Cllr John McElroy, Gateshead Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport. “It’s a bold, imaginative scheme that means we can also store and release power when we choose, as well as supporting the National Grid, which helps raise more income to support Council services.”

Centrica and the Gateshead Council agreed this scheme so as to build on the already standing long-term energy partnership between them, which has seen 2 MW of solar panels already installed on 34 public buildings in the town, along with Combined Heat and Power units on publically owned leisure centres in Gateshead, Heworth and Dunston.

Author: Frederic Brown

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