Energy Storage Success in National Grid Auction

           Carbon and Climate

Success for battery storage was seen in the recent National Grid auction for capacity that will ensure the system frequency is maintained at 50HZ at times when it is under stress. The “Enhanced Frequency Response” (EFR) tender was conducted for the provision of 200MW of capacity that can provide frequency regulation services within 0.4 to 1 second for a minimum duration of 15 minutes. Battery storage is well suited to providing capacity in this time frame and therefore was successful in winning most of the capacity at auction. Of the 64 sites now taking part in the scheme, 61 will be battery assets, two are demand reduction projects and one is thermal generation.

While the tender was for just 200 MW of capacity, a total of 1.4GW of storage projects was put forward, which is seen as a positive signal for the development of energy storage and its on-going potential. The National Grid has said that having this reserve in place will reduce its costs by £200m.

Cordi O’Hara, Director of UK System Operator, National Grid said: ‘These awards show that we can work with industry to bring forward new technology and I believe storage has much to contribute to the flexible energy system of tomorrow. This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the industry.’

The addition of flexibility to the system, via means such as the addition of energy storage and Demand Side Response, can reduce the systems costs associated with renewables. The strike price for generation covers plant investment and operating costs but not system costs.

The intermittency of renewable technologies imposes additional costs on the wider system because of the need for back-up capacity, balancing costs and reinforcement of transmission anddistribution grids. It is important to note however that all generation will have some of these additional costs associated with them. The development of a more flexible energy system addresses some of these costs. Technological advances mean that the energy system is expected to become more flexible and dynamic over the next ten years. The Chief Executive of the UK’s National Grid, Nicola Shaw, has recently pointed to the internet of energy that will help to balance energy demand. Price signals will encourage consumers to use their energy at different times of the day and domestic customers could even connect web-enabled appliances to the gird which then start to operate when there is a plentiful supply of power. Many large businesses are already benefitting from demand side opportunities where they are financially incentivised to lower or shift their electricity consumption at times of peak demand.

Energy storage is expected to reach a turning point in the 2020s but as yet it is uncertain as to how soon in the 2020s this might be. If successful, it will be a game changer for the electricity system in the UK. Analysis from Imperial College looks at the part that energy storage has to play under different decarbonisation scenarios. One of these outlines a route to a carbon intensity of just 10g/kWh by 2050, in which 10 GW of energy storage would be required on the system in addition to high levels of nuclear, wind and PV capacity. In the US, the pace of innovation has led the US energy secretary to say he believes that advances in energy storage means that the country will be completely decarbonised by the 2050s.

Nikki Wilson

Nikki joined Alfa Energy in September 2015 as a Carbon Management Consultant where she advises clients on legislation, compliance, and the implementation of carbon management schemes. She is a Practitioner member of IEMA, has a postgraduate diploma in Environmental Decision Making, and has over 15 years’ experience in energy consultancy.