Centrica and sonnen have created the UK’s most advanced virtual power plant (VPP) according to the pair, following the installation of 100 domestic batteries.
The network of sonnen batteries is connected using Centrica’s cloud based technology, it’s Flexpond software, to form a VPP. The project was first announced last year, as part of a Local Energy Market trial in Cornwall.
The batteries are now up and running, and the system has been approved by National Grid, which will allow the batteries to provide Dynamic Firm Frequency Response.
As such they can provide storage for the grid, increasing the grids flexibility as the VPP can charge when there is excess power and offloading it when there is peak demand.
Pieter-Jan Mermans, global optimisation director at Centrica said :”In the past, automated demand response was the domain of large industrial and commercial energy users, in the last 12 months we have shown that networks of devices such as home batteries and hot water tanks can also take part, putting the customer in greater control of their energy, making them more sustainable and helping lower their bills.”
The system is designed to allow customers to maximise the efficiency of their solar panels, as well as to contribute to the stability of the grid as a whole, said the companies.
Jean-Baptiste Cornefert, managing director at sonnen eServices said that the digital transition was “taking place all over the world”, and that the company’s technology would be key.
“Sonnen is the first provider in the UK to prequalify with a virtual power plant of decentralised home storage systems.
“Every megawatt provided across the network replaces one that would have been generated by conventional fossil fuel power stations.”
Centrica has been increasingly moving into flexibility, making investments into home energy management solutions provider GreenCom Networks and smart hot water tech provider Mixergy.
The company is also engaged in another VPP project with Mixergy, where it has secured approval from National Grid to use the company’s hot water tanks for firm frequency response.