Energy storage and power lines

Battery storage system is connected to transmission grid

Image credit: Pivot Power

The UK’s first grid-scale battery storage system directly connected to the electricity transmission network has been activated today (23 June) in Oxford.

The scheme is part of the £41m Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO) project, which integrates energy storage, electric vehicle (EV) charging, low-carbon heating and smart energy management technologies. Its aim is to decarbonise Oxford by 2040 and create a blueprint for other towns and cities to achieve net-zero.

The 48MW/50MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system will be directly connected to National Grid’s high-voltage transmission system at the Cowley substation on the outskirts of Oxford. It is the first part of what will be the world's largest hybrid battery, combining lithium-ion and vanadium redox flow systems, which is due to be fully operational later this year. The energy storage system will provide essential flexibility to cost-effectively integrate more renewables and increase system resilience. 

Pivot Power, which is part of EDF Renewables, is developing the battery energy storage system together with an 8km private wire network, which will share the connection to the high-voltage transmission network and deliver large volumes of power to public and commercial EV charging locations across the city. The first of these will be the UK’s largest public charging hub at Redbridge Park & Ride, which will feature 38 fast to ultra-rapid chargers when it opens later this year.

Wärtsilä has provided cutting-edge battery energy storage technology, underpinned by its GEMS Digital Energy Platform, for optimised hybrid system control. GEMS dynamically manages energy systems through a broad range of applications, providing critical feedback to stakeholders across asset owner, operation and trading value chains. The system’s design enables the delivery of different services from frequency regulation to enhanced grid resilience. In addition, it has the ability to provide back-up power to EV charging infrastructure connected to Pivot Power’s private wire network.   

Habitat Energy will optimise the battery trading and revenue generation using its AI-enabled PowerIQ platform, overseen by a team based in its Oxford office. It says this approach combines the best opportunities available in the day-ahead market, intraday and balancing mechanism and provides ancillary services such as Dynamic Containment. The system will manage and optimise the EV charging, to maximise value to the end consumer and benefit to the grid.  

Energy Superhub Oxford graphic

ESO system components

Image credit: Pivot Power

The second element of the project, a 2MW/5MWh vanadium redox flow battery, supplied by Invinity Energy Systems, will come online later this year. Once operational, the University of Oxford will evaluate the performance of the hybrid battery against a digital twin. This will provide a validated performance model of large-scale storage systems that can be used to more accurately predict project returns and accelerate energy storage investment globally. 

Habitat Energy’s commercial director Mike Ryan commented: “Our vision is to make sure that batteries are economic, they’re investible and they get built, because by doing that we enable renewables to be built, to be brought onto the system and for the National Grid to remain safe and secure.”

The Oxford energy storage installation is the first of 40 that Pivot Power is planning in the UK.

Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.

Recent articles