Zenobe batteries to provide reactive power services to UK electric grid

Batteries are to be used for reactive power services for the UK grid as part of a ‘world-first’ project to create a new reactive power market for distributed energy resources (DERs).

UK battery storage company Zenobe Energy is putting 10MW of battery storage, located at its King Barn facility in Sussex, south England, into the Power Potential Project, run by electric system operator National Grid ESO.

Reactive power is an increasingly important part of the UK grid, maintaining voltage levels to allow more energy to be transported down existing infrastructure. It therefore increases the capacity of the transmission system without having to upgrade infrastructure.

As more intermittent renewables have come onto the grid, the need to finely balance the voltage has led National Grid ESO to explore a number of reactive power solutions. Zenobe’s battery storage will provider those services to National Grid ESO via the lines of distribution network operator (DNO), UK Power Networks (UKPN).

The Power Potential Project, spearheaded by National Grid ESO and UKPN, is looking for create a new reactive power market for distributed energy resources (DERs) in the South East. It could save consumers over £400m (US$518.80 million) by 2050, as well as generating up to an additional 4GW.

Zenobe’s batteries will be able to absorb and generate reactive power to alleviate capacity challenges as distributed energy generation in the region continues to grow.

Live testing of the battery system will now take place with UK Power Networks throughout March, following successful trials in a lab last year. Last year, a UK solar farm operated by Lightsource BP helped provide reactive power as part of the project.

This story first appeared in its original form on Current± and Energy Storage News.