UK’s first battery storage connects to grid

24 June 2021 | Muriel Cozier

‘Energy Superhub Oxford can save 10 000 tonnes of CO2 every year once opened…’

The UK’s first lithium-ion battery energy storage system, connected to the National Grid’s high-voltage transmission system, has become operational. The 50MW system is part of the £41 million Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO) project, which is backed by the UK Government and led by Pivot Power, part of EDF Renewbles. Other partners in the project are Wärtsilä, a technology company, and Habitat Energy, which specialises in battery storage optimisation.

Located in Oxford, UK, the new system integrates energy storage, electric vehicle charging, low carbon heating and smart energy management technology to decarbonise Oxford by 2040. The system is the first to go live as part of Pivot Power’s plans to deploy up to 40 similar systems across the UK. This will lead to the creation of up to 2GW of battery storage, which EDF says is ‘a key pillar,’ of its plans to develop an additional 10GW of battery storage globally by 2035.

The 50MW battery is also said to be the part of what will be the world’s largest hybrid battery, combining lithium-ion and vanadium redox flow systems. Due to come online later this year the University of Oxford will evaluate the performance of the hybrid battery against a ‘digital twin.’ This will provide a validated performance model of large-scale storage systems which can be used to more accurately predict project returns and accelerate energy storage investment globally.

The project’s backers say that when fully operational later this year, the energy storage system will provide flexibility to cost-effectively integrate more renewables, increase system resilience and future proof the UK’s electricity network.

Councillor Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon Oxford said: ‘Energy Superhub Oxford can save 10 000 tonnes of CO2 every year once opened this year. That’s equivalent to taking over 2000 polluting cars off the road, increasing to 25 000 tonnes by 2032… Energy Superhub Oxford is a fantastic example of collective climate action.’

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