Who needs an EFR contract? Somerset solar site installs ‘grid scale’ Tesla battery storage unit

Tesla's Powerpack: UK orders being taken
Tesla’s Powerpack: UK orders being taken

Tesla’s commercial scale battery storage units are being installed at a ground-mounted solar PV site in Somerset. The company managing the project, Camborne Energy Storage, claims the installation is the first of its scale in Europe using the Tesla Powerpack.

The 500kWh installation will enable the solar operator to provide more varied grid balancing services to National Grid and increase the revenue streams available to it.

The news comes as a survey of more than 200 public and private sector organisations found that roughly half were investigating energy storage, including batteries. Within the industrial and commercial sector, that rose to almost six in ten.

Combining batteries with other assets enables firms to unlock greater value. Aggregator and energy supplier Limejump, for example, combines batteries with solar PV to provide frequency response services to National Grid.

Because of the raw flexibility in the battery, it can do whatever you tell it to do – anytime granular speed of response,” says Limejump CEO Erik Nygard.

“Combining a battery with DSR or generator means we can unlock a lot more flexibility from those asset types. An asset that I cannot turn on or off very frequently does not have much value on its own. But putting a battery alongside that asset allows me to create a new product to unleash value, because they are now working together to deliver something much more proficient to National Grid.”

Combining batteries with other assets, such as those used for demand-side response, also enables operators to extract value that can be greater than the sum of its parts, according to Kiwi Power CEO Yoav Zingher.

Zingher thinks that combining batteries and DSR will bring down costs by enabling much smaller batteries to be used.

“You can make do with a battery with a shorter duration as well,” he says. “Instead of building a battery that can deliver an hours’ worth of response, you can use a battery that delivers only 10 minutes of response and provide the rest with DSR, which can’t deliver response so quickly. So we think if you design the market well enough you can get more benefit from both.”

National Grid’s first enhanced frequency response (EFR) tender recently awarded 201MW of contracts to seven firms, the vast majority of which will be provided using batteries. However, the tender left more than 1GW of potential storage capacity without a contract. Some market participants believe there is a risk that interest may disappear without clear routes to market from the system operator.

However, announcements such as Camborne’s, as well as data that indicates battery storage projects can deliver paybacks in under five years, suggest that the National Infrastructure Commission’s assertion that investors are “queueing up to invest in subsidy free storage” may not be wide of the mark.

In the meantime, Tesla’s head of UK battery sales has warned firms not to “underestimate the speed of change”.

Relates stories:

Free report: DSR and battery storage

Battery storage: Positive outlook or does a correction loom?

Tesla: People don’t engage with energy bills, but they will have to

Decc, Ofgem and National Grid must make battery storage stack-up

National Grid must provide a plan for battery market, says SmartestEnergy

Ofgem: Energy flexibility will become more valuable than energy efficiency

Nissan ramps up battery storage plans

Infrastructure chief: UK could be energy storage world leader if government acts now 

National Grid boss: future of energy is demand not supply

Government backs Adonis’ smartgrid plan, pledges £50m+ for storage and demand response

National Grid says impact of solar requires greater system flexibility

Eon opens 2MW battery storage facility

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