A trial of the largest battery in Europe is set to start in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire with the hope of transforming the UK electricity grid and boosting renewable energy.
The trial is to test methods of capturing electricity and releasing it when required, conquering supply and demand of the electricity grid and maintaining a constant source of energy from solar and wind generation.
S&C Electric Europe, Samsung SDI and Younicos have gained £13.2m of the £18.7m needed for the project from the UK taxpayer for the six megawatt capacity battery installation. The companies are hoping to deploy one of the biggest batteries ever construction, using lithium manganese technology, which will absorb and release energy to meet the demands of the grid. The first results are not expected until 2016.
Andrew Jones, managing director of S&C Electric Europe, said that Leighton Buzzard had been chosen as it had the necessary infrastructure to hold the trial, including good grid connections and capacity for a large scale battery installation. He said, “The major grid challenges from the UK’s decarbonisation can be met through energy storage’s inherent ability to reinforce the network. But currently there are limited large-scale energy storage projects here, leaving a confidence gap. This practical demonstration promises to show the strengths and limitations of storage and unlock its potential as a key technology for the transition to low carbon energy.”
If successful, the UK alone could save £3bn a year in the 2020s through large scale energy storage, according to research from Imperial College London.