National Grid accepts eight bids for battery storage contracts

The UK’s National Grid has accepted eight bids and a combined 201 MW from battery energy storage providers in its first Enhanced Frequency Response service tender.

It’s likely to be the storage industry’s biggest award this year. Storage plays a key role in the greening of utilities’ networks by allowing grid managers to handle higher volumes of intermittent power from the wind and sun.
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Winners included EDF Energy Renewables’ 49MW at its West Burton power station in Nottinghamshire, Vattenfall’s 22MW at Pen y Cymoedd wind farm in South Wales and E.ON’s 10MW at its Blackburn Meadow CHP plant in Sheffield.

Other successful parties were RES, Belectric, Element Power and Low Carbon.

“Frequency response is something we’ve always had and enhanced frequency-response is a faster version of it,” said Cathy McCay, head of commercial operations at National Grid. “As we get more renewables on the system, this flexibility is going to be incredibly important.”

The TSO said bids were received from 37 providers, 34 of which are from battery assets. Some 64 bids totalling more than 1.2 GW prequalified to enter the race for four-year contracts, including 888MW of battery storage.

National Grid said 61 bids were for battery assets, two from demand reduction and one from thermal generation.

Renewable Energy Association policy lead James Court added: “National Grid deserve credit for kickstarting this market and the government must now follow through with its pledge to remove barriers to the industry. 

The Enhanced Frequency Response tender has been developed to bring forward technologies that can provide a fast response solution to system volatility.

EFR requires 100% active power output within one second or less to deviations from the standard 50Hz frequency to prevent faults. Previously the fastest frequency response was delivered in under 10 seconds.

Logan Goldie-Scot, analyst for BNEF in London said the awards were a big boost for storage. “Previously, activity had for the most part been limited to standalone demonstration projects” funded by the U.K. power regulator, Ofgem.

National Grid’s request for tenders for “Enhanced Frequency Response” units was neutral on the sort of technology it preferred.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports that the companies awarded contracts through the tender will have to be on the grid by April 2018. They must pass post-tender milestone tests around February. They won primarily because of the price they submitted, but availability was also taken into account. Most of them offered to provide the service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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