‘Milestone in new energy world’ achieved at Sheffield biomass plant

The installation and grid connection of a 10MW battery has been completed at a biomass power plant near Sheffield, UK.

According to a statement from E.ON, who installed the battery at the Blackburn Meadows plant, the new energy storage project will help keep power supplies stable and support the range of power generation sources feeding into the UK’s national grid.

The 10MW lithium-ion battery is housed in four 40ft long shipping containers. It has the same power as roughly ten family cars and holds the same amount of energy as 500,000 mobile phone batteries.

Power supply and demand on the UK grid have to be matched closely in real-time to maintain a safe frequency. This ensures that household electrical appliances function properly. It is a growing challenge to ‘balance the grid’, however, because the expanding range of renewable generation sources make the electricity system less stable and more prone to fluctuations in frequency.

Battery systems work by immediately discharging power to the network when the frequency falls – either when supply drops or when demand increases – bringing the frequency back up. The battery is also available to take power off the network if supply exceeds demand.

The Blackburn Meadows battery won the UK National Grid’s Enhanced Frequency Response Tender to deliver technologies capable of responding in less than one second at times of either an over-or-under supply of energy to the grid.

“This is a milestone for E.ON in the new energy world and an important recognition of the enormous potential for battery solutions in the UK,” said David Topping, Director of Business Heat and Power Solutions at E.ON.

“Having undergone successful grid testing by National Grid we are the first EFR operator to complete the installation and bring our system online. The success of this project, three months ahead of plan, is tribute to the excellent work done by colleagues across E.ON as well as our contractors.”

Leon Walker, Commercial Development Manager at National Grid, added: "Using battery storage is a significant development for managing the national grid. It's an ultra-fast way of keeping electricity supply and demand balanced. Over four years we estimate that this service will save the system operator around £200m. This is good news for consumers who benefit from our cost efficiencies, and paves the way for battery technology to establish itself as an important component of our energy system.”

Blackburn Meadows CHP plant is a 30MW renewable energy plant that can produce enough power for around 40,000 homes, converting recycled waste wood into electricity. It also uses combined heat and power technology which captures the heat produced through the electricity generation process to be used in a district heating scheme.

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