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Powervault to deliver local flexibility in London with UKPN

On Friday, UK Power Networks confirmed it will use Powervault energy storage systems to deliver local flexibility, in what will be the first time homeowners are paid to support the distribution network.

The distribution network operator (DNO) has agreed a bi-directional contract with Powervault, who will install 40 8kWh batteries in the London Borough of Barnet. The systems will be installed in homes with solar panels, to aggregate 320kWh of energy storage capacity and deliver localised flexibilities.

Each Powervault system will charge from either solar or off-peak electricity from the grid. This charge can be optimised remotely via Powervault’s aggregation platform to ensure a full charge for the weekday evening peak demand. On days of particularly high demand for power, UKPN can instruct the Powervault batteries to discharge in unison to relieve pressure on the electricity network, creating London’s first ‘virtual power station’. Residents would benefit from utilisation payments when their batteries discharge, which helps to balance the grid between peaks and troughs in electricity demand.

UKPN said the system could also help reduce the need for additional network infrastructure, such as building substations and laying cables.

Barry Hatton, director of asset management at UKPN, said: “We are committed to harnessing new technology to deliver direct benefits to our customers. Our plans to create the capital’s first ever ‘virtual power station’ are paving the way for a smart, flexible electricity network that puts people in charge of their energy use.

“London is a world-leader in technology and projects like this are just the start as we move towards a decarbonised, decentralised and digitised network that will offer significant benefits to our customers. It will help to keep down electricity distribution costs by providing a viable alternative to the traditional approach of simply adding more cables and substations to increase capacity.”

Joe Warren, Managing Director of Powervault, added: “This is a really exciting development for our business, and we’re delighted UK Power Networks has chosen to work with us.

“A payment for supporting the local networks, on top of the savings from solar and time-of-use tariffs, will enhance the business case for our customers, moving us a step closer to our goal of delivering a mass-market product as commonplace as a dishwasher. It also proves the value of domestic battery storage to the whole energy system.

“We think this contract is just the first step in what will be a huge growth area.”

It follows a successful trial of the technology in February, when 45 Powervault systems were installed to help reduce household evening demand by 60 per cent.

UKPN aims to have this system up and running this winter.

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