Northern Powergrid Energy Storage Trial to Improve Energy Efficiency

Six energy storage devices have been installed by Northern Powergrid as part of its energy storage technology trial.
Published: Thu 19 Jun 2014

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NEC Energy Solutions has completed six new grid-tied energy storage systems for distributed network operator (DNO), Northern Powergrid.

The devices are aimed at balancing the supply and demand of electricity for thousands of residential and commercial properties, as well as test the effectiveness of energy storage batteries as part of an overall smart grid solution.

Trial forms part of smart grid solution

The installations were completed as part of a three-year trial of smart grid solutions and were part funded through Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund.

In total, the six lithium-ion batteries represent around 2.9MW of power capacity and 5.7MWh of storage. The storage systems were installed at substations in both rural and urban locations.

The largest system (in Europe) installed under the project is a 5MWh system which is located in an industrial area in Darlington and the smallest installation is a 50kW system located in a residential area in Wooler.

Commenting on the new storage capacity, Ian Lloyd, CLNR technology manager for Northern Powergrid, said: “Part of the challenge of installing energy storage in these areas was the wide diversity in the various sites. We needed battery systems that could fit into a range of electricity distribution substations, so it was important to have a very flexible battery design to accommodate our very different locations.”

More control over stored energy

“What makes this trial of energy storage 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),” said Mr Lloyd, Network Technology Project Manager at Northern Powergrid. “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.”

In a recent Engerati webcast, Onsite Storage-Friend or Foe?, Mr Lloyd gives an update on Northern Powergrid’s cutting-edge trial of electrical energy storage technology.

NEC Energy Solutions claims that it had to tailor its storage installations specifically for each site. Four of the six batteries had to be packaged in different enclosures, ranging from 40-foot containers to smaller customised enclosures with the final two installations retrofitted directly into buildings.

“This project enables distribution network operators in the UK to implement new technologies designed to increase energy efficiency and support the adoption of clean energy, which represents an excellent opportunity to showcase the flexibility of our products,” said Bud Collins, CEO of NEC Energy Solutions.

Northern Powergrid will be monitoring all six devices throughout 2014 to understand the role that energy storage technology could play as part of a range of innovative smart grid solutions that help avoid the need for network reinforcement, improve network efficiency and support the uptake of low carbon technologies.