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Aggregator Limejump takes over operation of UK’s 10MWh ‘Big Battery’

'The Big Battery', aka Smarter Network Storage in Leighton Buzzard, England. Image: S&C Electric.

Demand response provider and 'technology-driven utility' Limejump has added Britain’s largest battery storage system to its aggregation assets after winning a contract from UK Power Networks (UKPN) to take on the commercial operations of Smarter Network Storage, also known as 'The Big Battery'.

The 6MW/10MWh system in Leighton Buzzard, England, originally developed in 2014 to trial the technology in the UK, was added to Limejump’s 'virtual power plant' in March and will aid in the provision of national dynamic frequency response services for which Limejump has already secured contracts. The system was delivered with financial support from the UK regulator Ofgem's Low Carbon Network Fund (LCNF), an innovation scheme where participants were duty-bound to share findings and data from projects with the rest of the LCNF group. It was built by S&C Electric using batteries from Samsung SDI and battery management by Younicos.

Limejump says the system will help keep the transmission grid balanced through demand response at “sub-second granularity”. When fluctuations from balancing the grid with renewable power generation occur, Limejump will respond with quick charges and discharges using the batteries. Limejump is also pre-qualified for the capacity market and will seek to use the Leighton Buzzard system to support its future bidding. 

Erik Nygard, chief executive of Limejump, said: “We are pleased to be working with UKPN on this exciting project. As the new aggregator for the site we are using our joint experience and expertise to future proof the battery.”

As a condition of the agreement with the distribution network operation (DNO), the battery must be available to support UKPN’s local grid during winter peak hours of 5-7pm in the town of Leighton Buzzard between October and March. These services will be delivered by Limejump during evening peaks free of charge as part of the deal, while the aggregator will be able to earn revenues from the site for the rest of the year.

Adriana Laguna, low carbon technology manager at UKPN, said: “Limejump has been awarded the tender as our aggregator because it presented the option that would ensure best value for customers.

“Its knowledge and experience of optimising revenue between products and operating at the complexity and speed that a battery requires means our asset is good hands to maximise the value [it] can obtain for customers in the medium-term.”

Speaking to our UK sister site Solar Power Portal, Laguna added that UKPN, which distributes electricity to more than eight million homes and businesses across London, the South East and the East of England, was actively seeking to better understand the role storage could play on its network.

“We see storage in the future helping to manage other constraints on the local network. [For example] the uptake of generation is one of the wider constraint points,” she said.

Limejump recently formed a partnership with UK developer Anesco to deliver 185MW of energy storage capability in the UK into this August’s capacity market, with plans for the units to be brought online by the end of 2018.

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