UK’s largest battery set to help keep the nation’s lights on

Andy Lowe

Gresham House Energy Storage Fund has partnered with Edinburgh based Flexitricity to optimise their 50MW / 75MWh Thurcroft battery storage site.

Flexible energy specialist Flexitricity will provide market access for what’s thought to be Europe’s largest battery, optimising revenue for the asset as well as helping National Grid ESO balance supply and demand.

The South Yorkshire-based lithium-ion battery storage site will be monitored from Flexitricity’s 24/7 control room in Edinburgh and Flexitricity will dynamically move the asset between different markets. It will be traded in the wholesale markets and with National Grid ESO in the balancing mechanism – one of the most important tools National Grid ESO uses to balance electricity supply and demand in real-time.

At other times it will be providing services such as frequency response to help regulate system frequency and keep it within safe operating levels.

Energy storage has a vital role to play in the global energy mix. It provides an answer to one of the biggest challenges faced by renewable generators – the intermittent nature of such technologies – offering a way to capture clean energy and balance energy generation against demand. The UK now boasts close to 1GW installed battery storage capacity and the market needs further growth to facilitate a net zero energy system.

Flexitricity pioneered the demand side response industry in Great Britain over ten years ago and has added a host of grid scale and behind-the-meter battery storage projects to its virtual power plant over the last few years. last month the company completed the first ever trade in the Balancing Mechanism as a Virtual Lead Party, which represents a huge milestone for the energy industry.

Andy Lowe, director at Flexitricity, said: “Flexibility is a hugely important part of decarbonising the grid and batteries are an excellent source of flexibility. It’s one of the only asset classes that can deliver the rapid response flexibility National Grid ESO needs now and will need even more in the future to maintain system stability.

“That’s why it’s been great to see the investment case for batteries gain momentum over the last 12 months and ambitious projects such as Thurcroft become reality.

“While the value is there, extracting it isn’t easy – it requires a high level of expertise and the right technology, people and algorithms. We’re delighted that Gresham House has chosen us as their optimisation partner for a second asset, after we contracted with them for their Noriker Staunch project in 2019.

“Being given this opportunity to optimise revenue for the biggest battery in the UK is a proud moment for us and something all of us at Flexitricity are very excited about.”

Ben Guest, managing director of Gresham House New Energy, said: “Gresham House has plans to grow its energy storage portfolio significantly. We are aiming for more than 360MW in operational assets by the end of 2020.

“Energy storage is an area of significant growth with Great Britain requiring at least 10GW in the next four years in order to enable the ongoing transition to a renewables-led electricity market. The UK has an ambition to achieve net zero by 2050 and it is our aim to contribute to this meaningfully, while achieving strong returns for our investors.

“We divide our storage projects between a range of optimisation partners and decided to entrust Flexitricity with Thurcroft having worked with them on our Noriker Staunch project.”

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