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Centrica LEM boosted by new storage and generation assets

Image: Centrica.

Image: Centrica.

Centrica’s local energy market (LEM) trial has been beefed up with the addition of a new wind turbine and new battery storage.

The LEM consists of a wide-spanning variety of technology, including a solar farm, residential solar and 100 domestic sonnen batteries, a vanadium redox flow machine provided by RedT and combined heat and power units, as well as energy efficiency measures.

Centrica has now announced it has started construction of what it is lauding as Cornwall’s first smart grid-connected wind turbine. The turbine has a capacity of 2.3MW and is expected to be operational by the summer.

It is to be situated on land owned by Cornwall Council at Ventonteague and is the first to be built in Cornwall since 2016, with the county particularly constrained, preventing the connection of new renewables and often curtailing those already connected.

The LEM boasts the "world’s first" trading platform to allow a transmission system operator and distribution network operator to simultaneously bid for flexibility.

It has received £11.5 million in funding from the European Regional Development Fund and is a collaboration between Centrica, Western Power Distribution, N-SIDE, Imperial College, the University of Exeter and National Grid ESO.

It is currently in a live trials phrase, which is set to continue until March 2020.

Dan Nicholls, LEM programme manager at Centrica, said the partnership between Centrica and Cornwall Council is a “great example” of how the private and public sectors can collaborate to help tackle climate change.

“Although Cornwall is already home to a large number of renewable energy assets, these wind and battery storage projects demonstrate a new era of decentralised, renewable energy,” Nicholls added, confirming that the project would be added into its virtual market place.

A 1MW battery is also primed for installation on land owned by Wave Hub, which itself is owned by Cornwall Council, who will own the battery. Centrica is to be responsible for the funding, construction and operation of the asset, with commissioning due in February 2020.

In an in-depth look at the LEM, Wave Hub told Current± the site had approval for a battery with up to 5MW in capacity, although 1MW was more likely due to import connection limitations, and that it had been offered a super-red band rate by WPD at 18.9p per kWh.

The LEM's fleet of 100 sonnen batteries have been aggregated together into a Virtual Power Plant, which was this month approved by National Grid to provide Dynamic Firm Frequency Response.


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