The European Utility Industry Awards are hosted during European Utility Week, in the evening of the 15th November. The awards recognise and celebrate individuals and projects that have shown outstanding commitment and accomplishments towards a sustainable energy sector. If you have any questions about submissions or voting, please contact us.
Smarter Network Storage
UK Power Networks began a two-year trial in 2014 of the fully automated, state-of-the-art Smarter Network Storage facility at a substation in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire – the largest storage facility of its type in Britain and one of the largest in Europe.
Smarter Networks Storage sees the implementation of cutting edge software and hardware for the first time. It is a leading test bed for exploring high-voltage energy storage in the UK, providing insight which is being shared both nationally and internationally.
The pioneering facility is unique in the Great Britain as the first multi-purpose storage facility seeking to prove the potential of electrical storage on the network to defer the need for conventional reinforcement, whilst also providing multiple services to other parts of the electricity system using first-of-a-kind commercial models.
It provides the first demonstration of a commercial model in operation. Used in this way, storage will help accommodate low carbon technologies and mitigate electrical capacity constraints at the site more cost effectively.
And it continues to shape future energy policy.
There are six main reasons why we consider Smarter Network Storage should win the energy revolution category:
1. Delivered a first of a kind project
- UK Power Networks’ pioneering project to design, build and test the largest storage facility in Britain and one of the largest in Europe, sought to prove the potential of electrical storage on electricity networks, to defer the need for conventional network ‘reinforcement’ projects, whilst providing multiple services to other parts of the electricity system, using cutting edge hardware and software and first-of-a-kind commercial models.
- Smarter Networks Storage is a state-of-the-art project, which sees the implementation and integration of cutting edge software and hardware for the first time. It is a leading test bed for exploring high-voltage energy storage in the UK, providing insight which is being shared both nationally and internationally.
2. Built the largest storage facility in Britain
- Building the 6MW/10MWh storage facility took just 12 months from breaking ground to energisation and commissioning, while minimising disruption to local residents in Leighton Buzzard, who were consulted throughout the project lifecycle.
- The building houses transformers and inverter units, as well as 264 battery racks, which hold a total of 3168 trays containing more than 50,000 battery cells. The system is large enough to power about 6,000 homes for 1.5 hours at peak times (based on typical domestic max demand of 1kW), or about 1,100 typical UK homes for a whole day during average or low demand times.
3. Tested the commercial side of storage, not only the technical performance
- Throughout the operational stage, a wide range of services have been tested, including frequency response, tolling, reserve, reactive power support and peak shaving. This has seen it become the first new type of energy storage system to be participating in the UK balancing markets, since the last pumped hydro power station was built in the 1970s.
- It provides the first demonstration of a commercial model in operation. Used in this way, storage will help accommodate low carbon technologies and mitigate electrical capacity constraints at the site more cost effectively.
- This is also the first DNO-operated grid scale storage that provides services to National Grid, providing information on the potential performance of storage for its Enhanced Frequency Response tender. The project has tested the functionality of storage and the potential of using reactive power to provide frequency response and voltage control concurrently.
4. Shared all the findings with the industry
- Findings have been shared both nationally and internationally through more than 200 site visits by government officials, developers and Distribution Network Operators, parliamentary briefings and national and international conferences.
- The project findings have been disseminated via multiple universities, including: the Open University, University of Cambridge, University of Greenwich, University of Sussex, Cranfield University, University of Loughborough, University of Exeter, University of Leeds and Imperial College London. Audiences have included undergraduates, postgraduates, PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and teaching staff to help inform the next generation of engineers regarding the benefits of energy storage in the electricity system and the future research needs for a wide storage uptake.
5. Continues to informing policy
- The project continues to shape future energy policy, raising issues around the regulatory framework and has informed Government on these and on the potential benefits of storage. This pioneering project has achieved results in:
· Regulatory challenges identified in the SNS project have been shared with Ofgem and DECC to urge them to consider change, plus the regulatory authorities of other countries such as Brazil to help inform the shaping of their competitive funding mechanisms;
·‘Distribution use of system’ charges considerations with energy storage, that have been used to inform developers and regulators;
· Contribution of storage to security of supply, that has informed DNOs and the industry on the unique characteristics and proposed methods for assessing contribution to security standards with energy storage.
- Its influence on policy is evidenced in the National Infrastructure Commission’s 2016 report on Smart Power (page 42) and DECC’s report: Towards a smart energy system (pages 10 & 11)
6. Exemplar collaborative approach
- Integrates partners covering industry, academia, transmission operator and small enterprises.
The project is due to be completed at the end of 2016. Its benefits and findings include:
- The immediate benefit of installing the 6MW/10MWh battery is the deferment of £6million of investment into the network, required to satisfy the growing electricity demand in the town of Leighton Buzzard. For the residents, this has saved them from the disruption of installing a 13km long circuit which would have been required with traditional reinforcement.
- This smart solution has played an instrumental role in understanding how storage can be more efficiently and cost-effectively deployed for the benefit of all our customers thanks to savings in overall system costs and more efficient investments, passed on through reduced electricity bills which is difficult to quantify.
- The project has also demonstrated how energy storage can be used to enable more low carbon technologies to be incorporated into existing electricity networks.
- The trial has explored ways to maximise the value from energy storage by offering multiple benefits to both the local network and the wider UK system. As the first battery energy storage facility to be performing balancing services into the UK market, it is helping National Grid manage the stability of the wider electricity system and understand more about using storage for this purpose. The site has already supported National Grid for over 3000 hours and supported customers on more than 120 occasions – ready to provide power in the event of a national or local fault on the network.
- The peak shaving and reactive power support trials of the SNS project have proved that it is more cost effective to provide peak shaving using reactive power support rather than without leading to benefits of circa 30% energy use reduction.