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Pioneering energy storage project to share key findings from smart commercial arrangements

UK Power Networks has signed two pioneering commercial agreements as part of the research and development of its Smarter Network Storage facility.

From Press releases - 20 November 2014 12:00 AM

UK Power Networks has signed two pioneering commercial agreements as part of the research and development of its Smarter Network Storage facility.

The company, which distributes electricity in the East of England, London and the South East, has signed a first-of-a-kind deal with SmartestEnergy – a supplier of energy to businesses – which will allow the two companies to explore shared services from the Smarter Network Storage facility. This will include the ability of an energy supplier to take over commercial control of storage for a period of time to manage their own energy portfolio.

The second commercial agreement is with KiWiPower which will work with UK Power Networks to manage the interface with National Grid to provide ancillary services that help support the stability of the electricity system nationwide.

The SNS facility is currently will be trialled in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, to store wind and solar energy to use on the electricity distribution network.

Nick Heyward, UK Power Networks’ project director for Smarter Network Storage, which is due to start a two-year-trial by the end of the year, said the two new commercial agreements were truly ground-breaking.

He said: “Although not as tangible as the storage facility itself, the development of these commercial arrangements represent a really important development for the project and will help provide a model for the future operation of storage. The contracts are supporting us to carry out multiple applications with the storage, allowing the value to be maximised under the novel commercial model put in place.

“In going through the process with our partners, SmartestEnergy and KiWiPower, we’ve identified a lot of key learning that has helped identify barriers to operating storage more efficiently in this multi-purpose way. We’ve shared this in our most recent learning report, and plan to further explore how these barriers could be overcome, which will encourage the adoption of storage for the benefit of the networks.

Robert Groves, Chief Executive Officer at SmartestEnergy, commented: “We have long recognised the potential of battery storage and are pleased to be part of making the Smarter Network Storage project commercially viable.

“Working with UK Power Networks will give us invaluable experience in the operation of storage technology, which will be key to managing intermittency as renewable generation increasingly contributes to meeting UK energy demand in the future.”

Yoav Zingher, of KiWiPower, added: “We are delighted to sign this commercial agreement with UK Power Networks on this very important project. KiWi Power's core business is to manage electricity demand at peak times, and the Smarter Network Storage project is a key step to building a smarter grid.

“This advanced project together with our deep knowledge of energy markets and legislation will generate a lot of learnings that will help roll out future grid storage opportunities.”

The 6MW/10MWh Smarter Network Storage, at Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, was awarded funding of £13.2 million from the Low Carbon Networks Fund. This has been supplemented with £4 million of funding from UK Power Networks and £1 million from project partners.