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Habitat Energy becomes second company to enter BM as a VLP

The Red Scar battery. Image: Gresham House.

The Red Scar battery. Image: Gresham House.

Habitat Energy has entered the UK’s Balancing Mechanism (BM), thanks to National Grid ESO’s Virtual Lead Party (VLP) route.

The operator and ELEXON opened up the BM last December, allowing smaller providers to take part in the flexibility tool by bringing in the VLP route. This was part of the Wider Access initiative set out in the BSC Modification P344.

This was first utilised by Flexitricity, which entered the BM in April allowing it to help manage the challenges of keeping the grid balanced during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Habitat Energy became a VLP in May 2020 and on Wednesday 2 September, it went live as the second entrant into the BM through the VLP route, with 69MW/100MWh of storage. This includes two battery sites, including the 74MWh Red Scar battery, which sits on Longridge Road just outside of Preston, which is currently the largest battery in the BM.

Phil Robinson, co-founder and director of Habitat Energy said the BM represented a “core revenue opportunity for batteries.

“It’s great for the industry that National Grid ESO’s Wider Access initiative is having a real impact.”

Both battery sites - the 20MW Roundponds site and the 49MW Red Scar site - are owned by Gresham House, and were used extensively over the course of the first day by National grid. Collectively, they responded to the operators requests over 80 time on just 2 September.

This was the first time battery assets have been added to the BM using National Grid ESO’s new wider access MQTT interface, whichwas developed together with Upside Energy to increase the speed of access and reduce the cost, making it easier for smaller players to take part.

Ben Guest, managing director at Gresham House said that it was “an important milestone” for the two companies, adding that they were “delighted” to have reached this stage together.

Changing the BM has opened it up to a broad range of VLP, including EV users, domestic heating and energy storage, district heating, renewables and community energy projects, and industrial and commercial flexibility such as refrigeration, HVAC and lighting.

Additionally, both of Gresham House’s sites will participate in a number of other National Grid projects for increasing flexibility. These include the third phase of the Reserve from Storage trial, which is due to begin later this week, and the Dynamic Containment and TERRE trials, both of which launch later this year.

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