National Grid has awarded eight contracts worth a total of £65.95 million to energy storage companies to balance system frequency in the UK energy system.

The winning bids for National Grid’s new enhanced frequency response (EFR) service will provide 201MW of EFR. This is the first time storage will be used to balance system frequency to protect appliances from damage.

The service is to be provided at an average price of £9.44/MW of EFR/h and will cut both the cost of providing the service, by £200 million, and the time, from 10 seconds to just one second.

The largest contract awarded was to RES to provide 35MW at £11.93 £/MW of EFR/h and is worth a total of £14.651 million.

Contracts were also awarded to EDF Energy Renewables, Vattenfall, Low Carbon, Eon UK, Element Power and Belectric.

National Grid launched the EFR tender to facilitate the use of new technologies for maintaining frequency in the face of increasing “inert” renewable generation and the continued closure of thermal plants.

Spinning machinery in thermal generation plants has the ability to act as a self-righting mechanism by being in synchronisation with the system and has been the traditional method of managing frequency.

National Grid received tenders from 37 different providers across 64 sites. Although the service is technology neutral, 61 of the tenders were battery assets, with just two demand reduction and one thermal generation.

National Grid system operator director Cordi O’Hara said: “We are constantly looking to the future to understand how we can make the most of the energy available to us.

“These awards show that we can work with industry to bring forward new technology and I believe storage has much to contribute to the flexible energy system of tomorrow. This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the industry.”

The company has extended the contract length from two to four years to allow more certainty for providers developing the technology.

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