‘Big Battery’ energy storage contracts awarded to balance UK grid at scale for first time

National GridThe National Grid has announced the winners of its “Enhanced Frequency Response” (EFR) tender – resulting in £200 million in reduced costs.

More than 35 electricity-storage providers – including major players – put in bids for the tender with only eight contracts awarded to the winning bidders, who are:

  • EDF Energy (West Burton Power)
  • Vattenfall
  • Low Carbon Storage Investment Co Ltd, which won 2 contracts
  • Battery Energy Storage Services 4 Ltd
  • South East Grid Storage One Ltd  

The auction provides National Grid with capacity that will help it balance the British electricity system at times when it is under stress at peak-demand.

Battery storage technologies won almost half of the contracts, while renewable energy projects won over 50 megawatts, including the Pen Y Cymoedd onshore wind farm in Wales.

A spokesman for the Renewable Energy Association – the largest such trade body in the UK – commented: “In 2012 energy storage was identified as one of eight great industries the UK could lead the world in. Now the industry is starting to deliver on this promise, with the right support in place we can go even further.

“A total of 1.4-GW of projects were put forward for the 200-MW tender – demonstrating that the market is ready to deliver storage service and that it can provide viable alternatives to planned Hinkley-C nuclear plant.

This outcome shows that new and low carbon flexible technologies can provide services traditionally provided by large, conventional plants. This kind of technical capacity has traditionally been provided by fossil fuel generation, and it enables the integration of more renewable energy, decarbonising the grid in line with the UK’s legally binding carbon targets.”

Cordi O’Hara, Director of UK System Operator, National Grid, commented: ‘We are constantly looking to the future to understand how we can make the most of the energy available to us. This project is at the very core of our Power Responsive work, to balance the Grid by the most efficient means possible, saving money and energy.

‘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.

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