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Smarter Network Storage at Leighton Buzzard

Client: UK Power Networks

Location: Leighton Buzzard, Central Bedfordshire, UK

Sectors: Government

The Challenge

Battery storage to push British government's carbon reduction strategy

Imperial College, a public research university in London, estimates that the installation of 2 gigawatts (GW) of battery storage by the 2020's could save £3 billion annually.

Electricity generation from renewable resources can fluctuate, and the savings rise significantly – reaching £10 billion annually – with 25 GW of installed renewable energy capacity.

Distribution system operator UK Power Networks acted on this, and undertook Europe’s largest storage demonstration project. Funded in part by the “Low Carbon Networks Fund,” the aim of the “Smarter Network Storage” (SNS) project is to determine how storage technology can be used in support of cost efficient implementation of the British government’s carbon reduction strategy (UK Carbon Plan)

Project fact file

Estimates that the installation of 2 GW of battery power by the 2020's could save £3 billion annually 6 M 3 Billion annually
Storage Solution 6MW
The project was awarded funding by UK power regulator Ofgem, under the Low Carbon Networks (LCN) Fund £13.2 Million

The solution

A fully automated 6 MW / 10 MWh battery power plant

Working with our partners S&C Electric and Samsung SDI, we installed a fully automated 6 MW / 10 MWh battery power plant at the Leighton Buzzard substation, northwest of London. The multi-purpose SNS application explores the capabilities and value in generating alternative revenue streams for storage.

The battery system is mainly used for supporting security of supply; this involves peak shaving to keep the overhead lines feeding the site within rated limits. At other times, it is used to provide additional services, including frequency response, which it can do more effectively than conventional thermal power plants.

The impact

Proving the power of battery storage to change the future

Thanks to our sophisticated software platform, we were able to prove the commercial viability of combining, or “stacking,” various applications. So, in addition to generating income streams, over its lifetime SNS will generate over GBP 6 million in savings by avoiding various grid expansion activities that would otherwise be necessary, such as additional transformers, underground cables or power lines.

In addition to providing the capabilities that had originally been specified, we also successfully adapted our software to changing customer and market demands as the project evolved. This flexibility enabled us to adapt the system’s architecture to provide increased services after successful completion of the project’s initial four-year trial period.

The Younicos team played a crucial role in the Smarter Network Storage project, and their technology platform is instrumental in allowing the system to provide a wide range of advanced services to maximise the value from the storage.

Project Director , UK Power Networks

Nicholas Heyward