The 50MW portfolio, which is now grid connected, spans two English 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 utility-scale, enhanced frequency response battery storage sites will 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 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. 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."