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Home battery pilot in National Grid ESO DFS reduced grid demand and upped end-user financial rewards

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

SolarEdge Technologies revealed results of its UK home battery scheme, which it says was a first-of-its-kind in last winter’s National Grid ESO Demand Flexibility Service (DFS), with rewards for both end-users and the grid itself.

To recap: during DFS events, the National Grid offered financial incentives to participants nationwide who reduced their electricity usage at peak times to decrease demand on the grid.

Unlike ‘manual turn-down’ participants, SolarEdge Home Battery owners earned financial rewards for their stored battery power during peak hours, without having to reduce their electricity usage.

Smart Metering Systems Plc (SMS) used SolarEdge’s smart technology to autonomously charge participants’ batteries remotely ahead of each DFS event and then maximise power export to the grid during the event itself– eradicating the need for any manual participation from the homeowner.

Participating battery owners earned up to ten times more financial rewards than participants paid by the DFS for manually reducing their energy consumption. The highest financial reward received by a battery owner during a single DFS event reached £25.60, with the average reward received £6.52. In comparison, UK manual turn-down DFS participants received approximately 90 pence per DFS event on average.

In the six DFS events which SolarEdge batter owners participated in, the highest total reward achieved by a battery participant was £100.61. Projections by SMS suggest that if the DFS service becomes an enduring year-round service, domestic battery owners could earn over £300 per year.

For the National Grid, participating batteries reduced demand on the grid up to six times more than UK homeowners manually reducing their home energy consumption. On average, battery participants exported 2.7 kWh to the grid per DFS event, compared to less than 0.5 kWh reduction in grid demand on average per manual turn-down participant.

Mark Hamilton, Managing Director FlexiGrid at SMS, said: “Introducing automation into the DFS has game-changing potential to significantly amplify the volume of homeowner participation next winter and in future DFS events, and subsequently boost the impact of grid stabilization using home batteries. The ability to remotely schedule participant’s batteries to autonomously charge ahead of each DFS event and maximize power export to the grid during the event itself, means homeowners can earn passive income while consuming electricity as normal. This is in contrast to the DFS participants required to actively change their lifestyle and behavior to earn energy bill savings, which was a key factor in the drop-off in participation we saw as the national DFS scheme went on.”

Amit Larom, VP & Regional General Manager Western Europe at SolarEdge added: “As a provider of battery demand response programs around the world, we’ve seen first-hand the significant value it delivers to homeowners and grid operators alike.  Home batteries enable homeowners to lower their energy bills and increase their savings by leveraging excess solar during evenings when electricity tariffs are at their highest. Participating in demand response programmes can further help improve the economics of purchasing a home battery. For grid operators such as the National Grid, the ability to leverage stored battery power from the community allows them to better respond to ever-increasing peaks in demand.”

National Grid commits £10m to hydrogen energy project

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

National Grid is partnering with Northern Gas Networks (NGN) and Fluxys Belgium to build a first of its kind offline hydrogen test facility in the UK, to understand how hydrogen gas could be used in the future to heat homes and deliver green energy to industry. 

The £10 million project will be delivered by DNV GL, with support provided by the HSE Science Division and academic partnerships with Durham University and the University of Edinburgh and involves building a hydrogen test facility at DNV GL’s site at Spadeadam, Cumbria. 

The facility will be built from a range of decommissioned assets, to create a representative network which will be used to trial hydrogen and will allow for accurate results to be analysed. Blends of hydrogen up to 100% will then be tested at transmission pressures, to assess how the assets perform. 

The plans have been submitted to Ofgem and if funding is awarded, the aim is to start construction in 2021 with testing beginning in 2022.

Currently 85% of homes and 40% of the UK’s power needs are supplied by gas. But as the UK works towards becoming one of the world’s first net zero economies by 2050, the gas sector needs to demonstrate a viable pathway for decarbonisation. 

NGN, one of the UK’s Gas Distribution Networks, is contributing to the project and owns the H21 distribution rig currently under construction at the Spadeadam site. 

A collaboration between all the UK gas and transmission networks, and now in its second phase, the H21 programme is demonstrating how the existing gas distribution network can be repurposed to safely carry 100% hydrogen to heat homes and businesses.

The hydrogen test facility will remain separate from the main National Transmission System, allowing for testing to be undertaken in a controlled environment, with no risk to the safety and reliability of the existing gas transmission network.

Antony Green, Project Director for Hydrogen at National Grid, said: “If we truly want to reach a net zero decarbonised future, we need to replace methane with green alternatives like hydrogen. Sectors such as heat are difficult to decarbonise, and the importance of the gas networks to the UK’s current energy supply means trial projects like this are crucial if we are to deliver low carbon energy, reliably and safely to all consumers.” 

Tim Harwood, H21 Project Director and Head of Programme Management at NGN, said: “This project will link with Phase 2 of the H21 NIC, by connecting the National Grid transmission assets to the distribution network being built alongside the ‘HyStreet’ of purpose-built hydrogen research houses.By adding transmission assets, we can then demonstrate a full beach-to-meter scenario, showing how the gas industry can collaborate together in a hydrogen future. “

Thierry Bottequin, Engineering Manager from Fluxys Belgium, said: “This is an important step in investigating the conversion possibilities of our infrastructure for the transmission of hydrogen-natural gas blends and hydrogen. We believe that the multiphase scope of the project perfectly complements our own research to document the reliability, safety and integrity of the existing gas infrastructure when used to transport hydrogen.”