Battery site becomes first to supply electricity to UK’s Balancing Mechanism

A 10MW battery storage site in Derbyshire has become the first in the UK to deliver electricity to the National Grid's Balancing Mechanism (BM), in a move hailed as "ground-breaking" for the nation's renewable and battery storage industries.

The Breach Farm site, developed by renewable energy firm Anesco, supplied to the BM for the first time on Monday (20 August). It has participated in the scheme as part of a “virtual power plant” overseen by aggregator LimeJump.

Anesco’s executive chairman Steve Shine said the move would “open the door” to additional revenue streams for investors, while “further validating” the case for investment in renewables projects and storage technologies.

“It’s a major step forward for the industry, with the BM market offering frequent instances of profitable spreads for batteries to take advantage of,” Shine said. “In addition, it removes much of the risk that suppliers face from uncertain system prices.” 

Anesco has also moved to supply electricity generated at its Clayhill solar farm to the mechanism. The 10MW farm in Bedfordshire, which is co-located with a 6MW battery storage facility, became the UK’s first subsidy-free solar farm when it launched last summer.

Battery boon

Reading-based Anesco – which received recognition in the annual Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 league table for its fast-growing sales – became the first firm to install a commercial-scale battery charged by solar power in 2016.

Since then, it has committed to ensuring that the UK’s largest portfolio of energy storage is running by the end of 2018 as it brings 185MW of energy onto the grid. The system is expected to play a significant role in balancing the grid, providing a sub-second response to support supply and demand requirements. 

Its move to invest in energy storage comes at a time when the UK’s battery sector is booming. The industry is expected to help create savings for the nation to the tune of £8bn by 2030, following a plethora of energy storage announcements in the early months of 2018.

Sarah George

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