Are we there yet? Biggest-ever energy storage trial launches


By: SGN Staff


Quick Take: Many (most?) electric power utilities just don't believe that energy storage is economically viable. Hence the long, long, long list of energy storage pilots and demos. Despite the hundreds of trials we've seen already, utilities never seem to be quite satisfied. Yes, it worked for that small pilot - but could it scale for my application?


Perhaps this latest trial will answer the scale question once and for all, given that it's the largest ever in Europe (and possibly the world... but who knows what China is doing behind the scenes). I think this is one you will want to track. - By Jesse Berst


Europe’s Largest Energy Storage Trial Launched


29 July, 2013: S&C Electric Europe, Samsung SDI and Younicos have signed a joint agreement to deploy Europe’s largest intelligent network storage project, onto a UK Power Networks substation, saving over £6m (U.S.$9.2 million) on traditional network reinforcement methods. By providing frequency regulation as well as load shifting, the project will also stabilise the grid much more effectively than traditional thermal generators, providing more space on the grid for clean, but intermittent renewable energies.


The fully automated 6MW/10MWh Smarter Network Storage (SNS) battery technology project will be installed at Leighton Buzzard primary substation, in order to assess the role of energy storage in cost effectively delivering the UK’s Carbon Plan. The technology can provide a range of benefits to the wider electricity system, including absorbing energy, then releasing it to meet demand, to help support capacity constraints and to balance the influx of intermittent and inflexible low carbon technologies onto the grid.


The Smarter Network Storage (SNS) project aims to carry out a range of technical and commercial innovation to facilitate the more efficient and economic adoption of storage. By contrast to other electrical storage projects, it will demonstrate storage across multiple parts of the electricity system, outside the boundaries of the distribution network. By demonstrating this multi-purpose application of 6MW/10MWh of energy storage at Leighton Buzzard primary substation, the project will explore the capabilities and value in alternative revenue streams for storage, whilst also deferring expensive conventional reinforcement measures, such as transformers, cable and overhead lines.


The project was awarded funding of £13.2 million (U.S.$20.27 million) by Ofgem, under The Low Carbon Networks (LCN) Fund scheme in December 2012 and will last four years, from January 2013 to December 2016.


The project will generate new knowledge and learning on the challenges of integrating large-scale storage, and provide the industry with a greater understanding and a detailed assessment of the business case and full economics of energy storage.


Clemens Triebel, founder and speaker of the board of Younicos, said: "If we are serious about transitioning to a renewables-based energy economy, adding more, and intelligent, storage to the grid quickly is key. That’s why we’re proud to contribute to this ground-breaking project’s success through our intelligent control algorithms and experience in frequency regulation and battery management. We’re eager to show how industrially available batteries can be integrated into existing grids economically today, and help effectively balance intermittent renewable generation, allowing us to switch off CO2-intensive thermal plants when they aren’t needed.”


Research from Imperial College identifies savings from energy storage of £3bn a year by the 2020s, based on the deployment of 2GW of energy storage. The value increases significantly with increasing proportions of renewable generation, with savings of £10bn a year identified towards 2050, based on 25GW of capacity.


About S&C Electric Company Europe

S&C Electric Company Europe is helping the UK to transition to the low carbon economy, by maximising existing grid assets, and assimilating distributed generation and demand technologies. S&C Electric Company Europe Ltd, the European division of S&C Electric Company, applies the organisation’s 100 year heritage of innovation to address the challenges facing the world’s power grids and thus to shape the future of reliable electricity delivery. Additional information about S&C is available at, or at


About Samsung SDI

Samsung SDI Co., Ltd., which is headquartered in South Korea, is an affiliate of the Samsung Group and is the global No.1 manufacturer of Lithium Ion Batteries for Mobile Applications. Leveraging this position, Samsung SDI is focused on the next generation of Lithium Ion Battery Technology for electric vehicles and energy storage. Samsung SDI has been proudly listed by the DJSI (Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes) for nine consecutive years. For additional information, visit


About UK Power Networks

UK Power Networks distributes power to a third of Britain’s population through its electricity networks serving London, the South East and the East of England. The company was named Utility of the Year 2012 and also won the Team of the Year award in the prestigious Utility Industry Achievement Awards. The company's 5,000 employees are dedicated to delivering a safe, secure electricity supply to about eight million homes and businesses via its networks of substations, overhead lines and underground cables. UK Power Networks distributed the electricity at many venues for last year’s international sporting events. This year we are investing £360million in our electricity networks and around £1.8billion in the five years to 2015. We are also undertaking trials to ensure our electricity networks support the transition to a low carbon future.


About Younicos - Let the fossils rest in peace

Younicos’ innovative grid control, battery and energy management ensures the smooth interplay of storage with wind and solar energy. Working with partners, we design, build and operate up to 100 per cent renewable energy systems that out compete conventional fossil systems both technically and economically. Our solutions include autonomous, up to 100 percent clean energy systems as well as turn-key battery parks with 20-year performance guarantees that provide crucial system services faster, more accurately and economically than conventional generators.


Jesse Berst is the founder and Chief Analyst of SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition.


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