In a world obsessed with finding the most efficient way to store, and use energy, innovations in the world of “greener” power will always spark interest. Recently, a £18.4 million grid battery system in Bedfordshire has completed its second round of trials designed to prove that energy storage is a realistic solution for Britain.
A company called “UK Power Networks” announced that the automated battery, which can be found in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, has the capacity to transform the way that we rely upon the energy grid today – transforming our energy usage habits for a more sustainable economy.
The 6MW/10Mwh battery is currently the only one in the UK that operates on the energy network, and it has the ability to store enough electricity to supply significant power to the grid in the event of an error or blackout. In fact, the system known as the “Smarter Network Storage” facility, can maintain enough electricity to keep 6,000 homes running at peak times for 1.5 hours.
Up until now, the modern facility has been supporting the National Grid for over 7,500 hours – feeding the local electricity network on over 180 different occasions. Like a safety blanket for our energy needs, the SNS stands ready to provide the power we need to thrive in the event of a local or even semi-national network problem.
A Battery-powered Future?
After two years of testing, the battery project concluded that grid-scale energy storage solutions, such as the SNS, could be a commercially viable solution as the prices of batteries continue to fall, and new revenue streams emerge.
The director of strategy, safety, and support for UK Power Networks (Suleman Alli), commented that as the world moves towards a more sustainable solution for energy usage, people are beginning to consider the possibility of batteries and storage in Britain’s electricity network. The company believes that, thanks to its research, UK officials will be able to see the power that grid-scale storage represents in addressing the challenges of the energy industry.
In fact, the long-term trial has already helped to draw focus to the fact that the UK energy network needs to evolve if it’s going to be environmentally friendly. After all, current energy storage uses a double levy for carbon emissions – both when it releases, and stores energy.
Emerging Technologies for the Electricity Industry
In November, a Policy Exchange report discovered that energy storage, alongside new technologies for electricity usage could save the UK around £8bn in costs by 2030. At present, the UK has various options for energy storage proposed or in development, but the Renewable Energy Association suggests that plans will remain incomplete unless the right support is accessed from the government.
Before it was disbanded, the Energy and Climate Change Committee urged that the UK government should act quickly if they want to address the barriers that are faced when considering energy storage. It’s safe to say that the UK Power Networks test supports this suggestion.