Centrica and sonnen create ‘UK’s most advanced’ virtual power plant

A network of 100 domestic batteries have been installed and aggregated in a cloud platform that can be charged or discharged according to the needs of the grid

Energy giant Centrica and home battery storage unit sonnen have completed the creation of what they claim is the UK’s most advanced virtual power plant.

They have installed a network of 100 domestic batteries and have been granted permission by National Grid to aggregate them in a cloud platform in order to provide Dynamic Firm Frequency Response (FFR) – selling storage space when the grid is overloaded or providing stored energy during periods of peak demand.

This allows customers to maximise the amount of electricity generated through solar panels in their homes, helping reduce their energy bills whilst contributing to the stability and sustainability of the power grid.

Centrica and sonnen – acquired by oil and gas giant Shell in February 2019 – are working to build on the existing 100 batteries to provide more capacity for grid stabilisation in the future.

Pieter-Jan Mermans, Global Optimisation Director at Centrica said: “In the past, automated demand response was the domain of large industrial and commercial energy users, in the last 12 months we have shown that networks of devices such as home batteries and hot water tanks can also take part, putting the customer in greater control of their energy, making them more sustainable and helping lower their bills.”

Centrica is also running a £19 million Local Energy Market trial in Cornwall.

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