The parties have signed a four year contract that will see RES (Renewable Energy Systems) provide 20 MW of frequency response from battery storage. This is a new service which will aid National Grid in performing its system balancing role, which increasingly requires innovation and the use of new technologies. The services delivered by the battery storage systems will provide cost effective frequency response within one second of the detection of a frequency deviation. The new battery storage systems are expected to be fully operational within 18 months.

RES and National Grid have been working together to design this innovative service since 2014, ahead of National Grid’s upcomingtenderfor200MWofwhatit calls Enhanced Frequency Response.

RES has already commissioned six similar projects in North America.

Adam Sims, senior account manager at National Grid said:"This is the first time that battery storage will be used to provide such fast-acting frequency response service to the national transmission network in Great Britain. This innovative technology will enable us to respond to frequency issues in under a second,
helping to maintain the integrity of the grid. This service and the forthcoming Enhanced Frequency Response service will support the network as we transition to a generation mix with greater levels of low cost renewable energy."

RES has previously pioneered the delivery of very fast frequency services in Canada and is one of the largest providers of such services in the USA, where it has commissioned six similar projects.

“Energy storage can play a large role in supporting the UK’s transition to a secure, low carbon, low cost energy system", said John Prendergast, energy storage manager at RES. "We believe that this contract will play an important role in demonstrating this and will encourage policy makers and regulators to accelerate the removal of barriers to wider deployment of energy storage in the UK."

Willenhall project launched. Using batteries to provide rapid frequency response is also the focus of a research programme recently launched by the University of Sheffield employing a new storage facility located in Willenhall, UK, in conjunction with partners Uniper and E.ON.

The £4 million facility will use an innovative lithium titanate battery, supplied by Toshiba, and will be capable of very fast response to demands from National Grid to import or export electricity – within 4/10ths of a second.

A lithium titanate battery was chosen because it is fast to charge and discharge, has a long lifetime and is arguably safer than alternatives such as lithium ion.

Based at the Willenhall substation near Wolverhampton, part of the Western Power Distribution Network, the facility is owned and operated by the energy storage research team at the University of Sheffield as part of the Energy2050 initiative, in conjunction with partners at Aston University and the University of Southampton.

Professor David Stone, director of the Willenhall facility and the Centre for Electrical Energy Storage at the University of Sheffield said: "This dedicated national research facility has been designed to offer enhanced frequency response to peaks in demand and is available to be used by other academic and industrial projects for their research and to test new technologies."

E.ON and Uniper will use the facility to improve their understanding of operating a lithium titanate battery and will provide ancillary services to the electricity network in order to test the operation of the battery in this application and to gain operational experience with a new battery technology.

A future phase of research will look at how used electric vehicle battery packs connected together might be deployed for domestic or industrial electricity storage.