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Northern Powergrid Puts Electrical Energy Storage Technology to the Test

NEWCASTLE, England, February 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

Six energy storage devices have been installed, commissioned and switched on by Distribution Network Operator (DNO) Northern Powergrid as part of a cutting-edge trial of electrical energy storage technology.

The devices have been placed on a live electricity network, across a mixture of rural and urban locations in the North East and Yorkshire, to help balance the supply and demand of electricity for thousands of residential and business properties and test the effectiveness of energy storage batteries as part of an overall smart grid solution.

Three of the devices have a capacity of 100kWh, two are 200kWh and the biggest has a capacity of 5MWh, making it one of the largest currently in operation in Europe. A time-lapse video of the 5MWh battery installation can be seen here http://youtu.be/b1iLP6lnVAU.

The trial is part of the Customer-Led Network Revolution (CLNR), a leading UK smart grid project, part funded by Ofgem's Low Carbon Networks Fund.  

Ian Lloyd, Network Technology Project Manager at Northern Powergrid, said: "What makes this trial of energy storage unique is both the size of our largest battery and the fact that, for the first time, we will be monitoring all six of the batteries and the networks they are on through an Active Network Management (ANM) control system developed for the project, called the Grand Unified Scheme (GUS). GUS allows us to view in real time when and where we need to release the 'stored' energy, as well as enabling autonomous control of the other network technologies that we are currently trialling.

"We've deliberately sited the storage devices at a number of different points on our network to paint a comprehensive picture of how the technology works across a range of urban and rural networks with different types of construction and with different types of customers, such as customers in off-gas rural areas that use electricity for heating.

"These locations combined offer a representative sample of 80% of the UK's total electricity distribution network and this is vitally important because it means that, with the learning we gain from these trials, we'll have real-world results that show how this technology could be deployed as an effective solution across the UK."

The largest 5MWh device has been installed in Darlington and is helping to meet the energy demands of 14,000 different homes and businesses in and around the town. In comparison, one of the smaller batteries is supporting around 300 residential homes in Maltby, South Yorkshire, which has a high concentration and cluster of customers with solar PV technology. Another two batteries are in Darlington and the remaining two are in rural Northumberland.

Ian added: "We'll be monitoring all six devices throughout 2014 to understand the role that energy storage technology could play as part of a range of innovative smart grid solutions that help us avoid the need for network reinforcement, improve network efficiency and support the uptake of low carbon technologies.

"Customers across these networks won't notice any changes in their energy supply, but are helping us explore new ways to tackle peak energy demand and support the widespread adoption of low carbon technologies."

The CLNR project is trialling a combination of customer flexibility and network technology solutions to find the most cost-effective ways to help meet future UK energy challenges; ease the transition to a low carbon economy and help accelerate the uptake of solar panels, heat pumps, electric vehicles and other low carbon technologies. It is hoped that the findings will also offer DNOs a potential alternative to network reinforcement whilst helping to improve overall network efficiency.

Led by Northern Powergrid, the DNO for the Northeast and Yorkshire, the project is the largest of its kind in the UK and is being completed in partnership with British Gas, Durham University, Newcastle University and EA Technology.

The project is part-funded by Ofgem's Low Carbon Network (LCN) Fund, which supports projects led by UK DNOs that explore new technology, operating and commercial arrangements to provide security of supply and value for money as Britain moves towards a low carbon economy.

The findings from all CLNR trials are being shared with DNOs across the UK to help the electricity industry prepare for the challenges presented by a low carbon future.

For more information, visit http://www.networkrevolution.co.uk

For more information about this story and the Customer-Led Network Revolution (CLNR) project, email [email protected] or call Lee Cullen or Sophie Everett on +44(0)1244-320677.

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