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New ‘virtual power station’ in London to improve system flexibility

9 March 2020

A trial to use household batteries to help support the electricity grid in London is being rolled out further to help deal with peaks in winter demand and reduce carbon emissions.

It is hoped the trial will lead to domestic storage systems capable of dealing with peaks in winter demand while reducing carbon emissions.

An initial small scale trial by UK Power Networks (UKPN) paid 45 households to store energy in the batteries in their homes. This is now being expanded.

New smart batteries can store self-generated clean energy from solar panels, which households can sell back to energy companies using new export tariffs. Owners also get paid for storing renewable energy from the grid when there is an excess of generation. The scheme is intended to help lower household electricity bills, since consumers can buy electricity when it’s cheapest and store it for use when grid prices are more expensive.

It will also help network companies avoid digging up the streets to replace electricity cables, with the batteries using artificial intelligence to optimise home electricity use. BEIS said the trial successfully reduced household evening peak electricity demand by 60% and helped cut carbon emissions from electricity by 20% for average households.

The government-backed company behind the battery system, Powervault, is now rolling the scheme out as part of a second commercial contract in St Helier, South London, which will help further improve flexibility in the electricity network.

Find the Powervault press release here.

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