UK’s largest lithium ESS commissioned as part of EFR tender

Published on: January 11, 2018 10:57 amBy: Jade Beevor


Commissioning of two lithium ion energy storage systems totalling 50MW has been completed in the UK by VLC Energy Facilities using Japanese firm NEC Corporation’s grid storage technology, it was announced on January 8.

The portfolio by VLC Energy, a joint venture between renewable energy investment company Low Carbon and VPI Immingham, includes a 40MW facility in Glassenbury in Kent and a 10MW installation in Cleator in Cumbria.

NEC Energy Solutions, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NEC Corporation, provided turnkey engineering, procurement and construction services, which included its GSS end-to-end grid storage solution. The company is contracted to operate the sites and provide the EFR service directly to National Grid.

Energy storage operation for EFR will be handled by an automated operating mode designed specifically for the UK frequency response service, and is part of the AEROS controls system, NEC’s proprietary energy storage control software.

Justin Thesiger, operations director at Low Carbon, said: “Sites such as these are fundamental to our energy security and also to realizing the full potential of renewable electricity generation that hit record levels earlier this year.”

The projects were awarded in 2016’s National Grid Enhanced Frequency Response tender, which saw 201MW of battery ESSs chosen to provide frequency response grid-scale services to the country’s transmission operator.

Last October E.ON announced it was the first of the EFR tender winners to complete an installation and grid connection with its 10MW lithium ion battery.

One of the biggest projects in the EFR tender was won by Renewable Energy Systems. However, last August the project to build a 20MW project in West Lothian, Scotland, was bought by London-based investment company The Renewables Infrastructure Group for £20 million ($25.9 million). RES will still build and operate the project, which is due for commissioning early this year.

Last December, RES announced it had also won permission to build a second ESS in Scotland at the Roaring Hill Energy Storage facility near Glenrothes.

RES were not the only company to sell their tender. Italian company Enel bought Element Power’s 12.5MW project for around €20 million ($24 million). The Tynemouth project is due to be completed next month.

Before the EFR tender, the largest ESSs in the UK were located at Leighton Buzzard, where a 6MW lithium ion battery began operations in 2014, and AES’s Kilroot Advancion 10MW lithium ion project in Northern Ireland.

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