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Low Carbon and Vitol’s CHP division enters joint venture to develop energy storage

Low Carbon's Glassenbury project is one of two awarded to the company by National Grid and to be developed by the new joint venture with VPI Immingham. Image: Low Carbon.

Low Carbon's Glassenbury project is one of two awarded to the company by the UK's National Grid and to be developed by the new joint venture with VPI Immingham. Image: Low Carbon.

A new joint venture has been established to fund early stage energy storage and renewable energy projects in the UK, beginning with two of the winning projects from National Grid’s Enhanced Frequency Response (EFR) tender.

VLC Energy is the result of the JV between Low Carbon, which saw two of its projects win in September’s EFR tender, and VPI Immingham, owner of one of the largest combined heat and power plants in Europe and part of the Vitol Group.

The new company will first develop the energy storage plants, which also won Capacity Market Auction contracts for delivery in 2020, in Cleator in Cumbria and Glassenbury in Kent. They will have a combined capacity of 50MW, accounting for a quarter of the 200MW total EFR contract capacity awarded by National Grid.

Low Carbon recently awarded g2 Energy with the high voltage electrical and civil works contracts for the projects, who will begin work in March, with the projects expected to be connected to the electricity network by the end of the year.

They will use lithium-ion battery technology from LG Chem and energy management systems from NEC Energy Solutions to provide responses of less than one second to surges in energy supply and demand.

Roy Bedlow, chief executive at Low Carbon, said: “Renewable energy is playing an increasingly important role in the UK’s energy mix and as this role expands, the development of energy storage plants will be central to the future success of the UK’s energy network.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Vitol to accelerate the development of new energy storage and renewable energy projects. Furthermore, by actively building a robust portfolio of renewable energy projects at scale, we are substantively challenging the causes of climate change, while helping to meet the growing demand for renewable energy in the UK.”

The intention behind the new JV is to accelerate the development of the UK’s renewable energy market while complementing VPI Immingham’s existing CHP generation capabilities.

Russell Hardy, chairman of VPI Immingham and a member of Vitol’s executive committee, added: “We’re pleased to be entering into an exclusive, strategic partnership with Low Carbon that will enable us to grow our investments in alternative energy in the UK. Batteries perfectly complement renewables and gas and together offer a cleaner, more efficient energy future for the UK.”