Giant Tesla batteries help balance UK’s electricity grid for the first time

Tesla has become the first user to participate in National Grid ESO’s balancing mechanism scheme with the new application programming interface

The National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) has used giant Tesla batteries to help balance the power grid in Britain for the first time.

Tesla became the first user to go live with National Grid ESO’s new application programming interface (API), using its automated real-time trading and control platform Autobidder, to manage first-time balancing mechanism (BM) access for the battery storage plant.

The API rollout marks the latest development in the ESO’s plans to remove barriers to access for a wide range of providers such as batteries and small distributed generators and boost the real-time flexibility of the system.

Last year, the ESO and ELEXON lowered the minimum threshold for taking part in the BM from 100MW to 1MW, to enable entry for smaller and aggregated units in regional networks.

Tesla’s Holes Bay plant in Dorset, commissioned by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures and Harmony Energy, is made up of six batteries – with a capacity of 7.5MW – that can store energy from renewable sources, which is used by the ESO to balance electricity supply and demand.

The company’s participation in the BM scheme comes after it acquired an energy generation licence earlier this year.

Roisin Quinn, Head of National Control and Chief Engineer at National Grid ESO said: “As we shift away from fossil fuel generation to cleaner, decentralised power, new opportunities are emerging to diversify our energy mix and make our electricity system smarter and more flexible.

“Our wider access initiative is helping to drive that change. We’re pleased to see our latest developments go live this week, with Tesla using our new API to enable a new provider to access the balancing mechanism for the first time.

“The API will open the market to a wider range of providers and technologies, increase competition for balancing services and bring better value for consumers – and it will take us a step closer to being able to operate the grid with zero carbon by 2025.”

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