First utility-scale battery helps relieve stress on UK’s national grid

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With London-based Limejump having broken through by winning permission from U.K. energy regulator Ofgem to have its virtual power plant (VPP) operate in National Grid’s balancing mechanism, a battery storage system has already supplied electricity to the system for the first time.

The 10 MW Breach Farm battery storage system developed by Anesco in Derbyshire has supplied power to the balancing mechanism, which provides extra generation sources during times of stress for the U.K. grid.

The battery breakthrough comes just a week after Limejump revealed its VPP – which aggregates power from small-scale renewable generators into a single provider that functions as a power station – had won permission to take on its traditional rivals.

In a press release published by Anesco today, Executive Chairman Steve Shine said: “We’re delighted that we’ve been able to achieve another first for the UK renewables industry. By entering our storage assets into the balancing mechanism, the door has been opened to additional revenue streams for investors, and further validates the opportunity that battery storage provides.

“It’s a major step forward for the industry, with the balancing mechanism market offering frequent instances of profitable spreads for batteries to take advantage of. In addition, it removes much of the risk that suppliers face from uncertain system prices.

“While our storage units have previously taken part in frequency response and the wholesale market, they are now able to take advantage of these additional revenue streams and pricing opportunities.”

UK households vote for solar

“Because of the data we hold and our unique battery revenue modelling tool, we are able to provide investors with even more certainty, further bolstering the mounting appetite for standalone storage as well as hybrid solar and storage projects.”

Anesco says it has 87 MW of operating energy storage assets – with 380 MW more in the pipeline up to 2020 – and has developed 102 solar farms to date, including the 10 MW solar and 6 MW storage Clayhill Solar Farm, described as the U.K.’s first subsidy-free solar project.

The boost to the energy storage market was revealed on the same day a YouGov poll of U.K. residents commissioned by environmental law group ClientEarth revealed solar is people’s favourite energy source and 62% of households would install panels, provided there was more support from the government.

A report on the Guardian news website today adds 60% of respondents would buy a home energy storage system if there were a government subsidy, and 72% would join local energy schemes such as solar panel collectives.

The figures tally with the experience of Dutch group-buying company iChoosr, which told pv magazine its experience from talking to householders who have signed up to its Solar Together group discount program is that customers want to install solar but thought they had “missed the boat”, given recent cutbacks to the national FIT scheme.