UK Power Networks outsources commercial operation of pioneering Leighton Buzzard facility

Smart energy firm Limejump has won a contract to manage UK Power Networks’ pioneering Leighton Buzzard battery storage facility – the biggest anywhere in Britain.

The battery will be used to provide dynamic frequency response to aid the integration of renewables into the UK’s energy system when it’s not fulfilling its main purpose of reinforcing the local distribution network during winter peaks.

Leighton Buzzard was the first utility-scale battery storage project to be deployed in Britain and has a storage capacity of 6MW and 10MWh.

UK Power Networks developed the facility with the help of a £13.2 million grant from Ofgem via the Low Carbon Network Fund. The aim of the project was to trial the technology and aid the transition to a smarter, more flexible power grid.

The company has now outsourced the commercial operation of the site to ensure it can meet its legal obligations as a distribution network operator.

“As the new aggregator for the site we are using our joint experience and expertise to future proof the battery, said Limejump chief executive Erik Nygard. “We believe the potential for batteries has only just begun, and they are set to become an integral part of the UK’s future energy mix.

“Batteries are enjoying significant growth; they are playing an ever-more important role in the energy market, as they support the use of renewables and protect the grid against the continued removal of coal power stations.

“They are an essential part of renewable energy generation, as they can quickly respond to the fluctuations on the grid imbalance caused through such things as intermittent solar and wind power.”

In April, Anesco revealed plans to build 185MW of battery storage by the end of 2018, creating the UK’s largest battery portfolio. The batteries will be commercially operated by Limejump as part of a “virtual power plant”.

What to read next