8 January 2018. VLC Energy has announced the completion of the UK’s largest portfolio of utility-scale, enhanced frequency response battery storage sites to support grid flexibility and increase reliance on low-carbon forms of electricity generation. VLC Energy is a joint venture between Low Carbon, a renewable energy investment company, and VPI Immingham, owner of one of the largest combined heat and power plants in Europe and part of the Vitol Group.
The 50MW portfolio, which is now grid connected, spans two sites including a 40MW battery park in Glassenbury in Kent and a 10 MW battery park located at Cleator in Cumbria. The two sites secured contracts as part of 2016’s 200MW National Grid Enhanced Frequency Response (EFR) auction, and will deliver a quarter of the auction’s capacity.
The two sites, which use LG Chem lithium-ion battery modules, and advanced energy management systems from NEC, will provide sub-second responses to surges in energy supply and demand, providing grid flexibility and electricity storage. Both the Cleator and Glassenbury sites have been awarded capacity market contracts.
Roy Bedlow, Chief Executive of Low Carbon, said:
“These battery parks represent perhaps the greatest increase in UK energy storage capacity to date as part of National Grid’s EFR auction. We’re delighted to have developed these sites with our partners at VPI Immingham, and look forward to expanding VLC Energy’s storage portfolio.
“Energy storage is critical to managing the demands on the grid, ensuring consumer needs are met, and increasing our reliance on low-carbon forms of electricity generation. These sites will help us tackle climate change and help the UK realise a cleaner and more energy efficient future.”
Russell Hardy, Chairman, VPI Immingham and CEO EMEA, Vitol, said:
“Batteries hold the key to the future of the power landscape, both in the UK and internationally. Ensuring grid resilience is a necessary step in the growth of renewable generation.”
Leon Walker, Quantitative Analysis Manager, at National Grid said:
“Using battery storage is a significant development for managing the national grid. It’s an ultra-fast way of keeping electricity supply and demand balanced.
“Over four years we estimate that this service will save the system operator around £200m. This is good news for consumers who benefit from our cost efficiencies, and paves the way for battery technology to establish itself as an important component of our energy system.”
About Low Carbon
Low Carbon is a privately-owned investment company committed to the development and operation of renewable energy power production. Low Carbon invests into both renewable energy developers and projects across a range of renewable energy technologies including solar PV, wind, anaerobic digestion, combined heat and power, concentrated solar power, energy efficiency and energy storage. Low Carbon has a strong management team with a proven track record in the development, construction, financing and management of renewable energy assets. Low Carbon remains involved in the projects for the long term with a dedicated asset management team that manages assets on balance sheet and for third parties (unlisted and listed).
About VPI Immingham
VPI Immingham is a combined heat and power (CHP) plant near Immingham, on the South Bank of the river Humber. It is one of the largest CHP plants in Europe, capable of generating 1,240 MW – about 2.5% of UK peak electricity demand and up to 930 tonnes of steam per hour, which is used by nearby oil refineries to turn crude oil into products such as gasoline.
It is part of the Vitol Group, an energy and commodities company. Vitol’s primary business is the trading and distribution of energy products globally – it trades over 6mbpd of crude oil and products and, at any time, has 200 ships transporting its cargoes.
Vitol’s clients include national oil companies, multinationals, leading industrial and chemical companies and the world’s largest airlines. Founded in Rotterdam in 1966, today Vitol serves clients from some 40 offices worldwide and is invested in energy assets globally including; circa 15.5mm3 of storage across six continents, 390kbpd of refining capacity and Shell-branded downstream businesses in 16 African countries, as well as Australia.
Revenues in 2015 were $168 billion.