Biomass plant battery installation a first for the UK

13th October 2017
Joe Bush

The Blackburn Meadows biomass plant near Sheffield has received delivery, installation and grid connection 10MW battery from E.ON. The plant is a new energy storage project that will help keep power supplies stable and support the range of power generation sources feeding into the UK’s national grid.

The 10MW Lithium-ion battery is housed in four 40ft long shipping containers. It has the same power as roughly 100 family cars and holds the same amount of energy as 500,000 mobile phone batteries.

The Blackburn Meadows battery was successful in National Grid’s Enhanced Frequency Response (EFR) tender to deliver technologies capable of responding in less than one second at times of either an over- or under-supply of energy to the grid.

Power supply and demand on the UK grid have to be matched closely in real time to maintain a safe frequency so household electrical appliances function properly. Balancing the grid is becoming more challenging because the growing range of renewable generation sources make the electricity system less stable and more prone to changes in frequency.

Battery systems work by immediately discharging power to the network when the frequency falls – either when supply drops or when demand increases – bringing the frequency back up. The battery is also available to take power off the network if supply is greater than demand.

As well as helping to make more efficient use of renewable energy sources, the batteries will also be able to provide extra power to the network at times of peak demand as part of the Capacity Market.

“This is a milestone for E.ON in the new energy world and an important recognition of the enormous potential for battery solutions in the UK,” said David Topping, Director of Business Heat and Power Solutions at E.ON.

“Having undergone successful grid testing by National Grid we are the first EFR operator to complete the installation and bring our system online. The success of this project, three months ahead of plan, is tribute to the excellent work done by colleagues across E.ON as well as our contractors.”

Leon Walker, Commercial Development Manager at National Grid, added: “Using battery storage is a significant development for managing the national grid. It's an ultra-fast way of keeping electricity supply and demand balanced. Over four years we estimate that this service will save the system operator around £200m. This is good news for consumers who benefit from our cost efficiencies, and paves the way for battery technology to establish itself as an important component of our energy system.”

E.ON worked with Nidec ASI to install the battery system. Matteo Rizzi, Nidec Industrial Solutions’ Director Global Sales, said: “Working with E.ON on the Blackburn Meadows energy storage project has been a real pleasure. It takes strong collaboration between all parties to make projects like this a success. Nidec looks at each job as a partnership and we believe that this has been key in helping us achieve the 500MWh we have installed globally today. We hope this is just one of many more jobs to come with E.ON.”

Customer solutions such as energy storage, cleaner on-site generation and energy management are part of a range of energy solutions offered by E.ON to help customers to use energy more efficiently and make businesses more profitable. To power homes, E.ON already offers its Solar and Storage package, combining solar PV panels and battery technology that allows customers to store the energy they generate from the sun, and potentially saving around 50% on electricity bills.

David Topping added: “Blackburn Meadows is a real example of the new smart energy world – a renewable energy plant providing electricity to the grid and sustainable and affordable heating and hot water to local businesses.

“Batteries at this scale allow us to make best use of all renewable energy sources by harnessing the energy and having it ready for use whenever it’s needed – increasing the share of renewable energy on the grid while at the same time providing a secure supply for our customers.”

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