An industrial-sized battery has officially been launched near Wolverhampton and connected to the UK’s electricity grid.
The £4 million facility at Willenhall substation is part of new energy storage research led by the University of Sheffield.
It claims one of the facility’s unique capabilities is how quickly it can respond to demands from National Grid to import or export power at short notice – at 4/10th of a second.
Earlier this month the National Infrastructure Commission said energy storage could contribute to innovations that could help consumers save around £8 billion a year by 2030.
Professor David Stone, Director of the Willenhall Facility and the Centre for Electrical Energy Storage at the University of Sheffield said: “As the demand for energy increases in the UK, storage systems are needed to balance supply. The first commercial projects are coming on line but there are still many technical issues to be explored in order to maximise the potential of these technologies and to reduce costs.
“This dedicated national research facility has been designed to offer enhanced frequency response to peaks in demand and is available to be used by other academic and industrial projects for their research and to test new technologies.”
Energy company E.ON’s Uniper unit will use the battery for testing storage technology, looking at future possibilities for large-scale projects and how to overcome the challenges associated with connecting such technologies to the grid.
Earlier this week Chancellor George Osborne announced energy storage would receive a share of a £50 million fund as part of his Budget.