UK first as solar inspires firm to pair hydro with BESS for grid services

Published on: April 5, 2018 4:12 pmBy: Jade Beevor


Hydropower company Barn Energy announced on March 22 that it had commissioned two projects in the UK that combine hydroelectric and lithium ion battery storage to perform grid-scale services.

The firm worked with its sister company Eelpower Limited to deliver the two schemes, each with a capacity of more 1.2MWh using batteries supplied by China’s BYD and installed by UK cleantech firm Anesco.

The batteries will be remotely controlled using UK company Limejump’s virtual power plant technology.

The projects are already delivering on a two year, Firm Frequency Response service contract with UK transmission firm National Grid. The systems could also potentially relieve costs during TRIAD days — part of a charge-setting process that takes readings from the three half-hours of highest demand on Great Britain’s electricity transmission system between November and February.

When performing grid-balancing services, 60%-70% of the battery’s consumption will be provided by hydropower with the rest coming from the grid.

The low-head river hydro projects have been deployed at: Thrybergh, on the Rover Don near Rotherham and at Knottingley, on the River Aire near Wakefield.

Barn Energy plans to install a third battery storage unit at its 500kW Kirkthorpe hydro scheme on the River Calder.

When not performing FFR or TRIAD services, the batteries will be used for load shifting and for trading to maximize the revenues at each site.

Mark Simon, chief executive of Barn Energy and Eelpower Limited told ESJB: “We have deployed the system because we have a lot of experience with battery installations on a solar farm and have seen that they make a significant impression on ones ability to export energy.

“The only difference with a hydro plant is it is more expensive to build and so the returns are more modest.”

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