Giant battery planned to balance the UK power grid

National Grid
National Grid

Statkraft AS joined with Statera Energy to build 1 gigawatt of storage in the U.K. with a backup generator fueled by natural gas, part of an effort to profit from the nation’s need to balance its power grid.

London-based Statera will construct several storage sites over three to four years at a number of U.K. locations as well as an array of gas reciprocating engines, Norway-based Statkraft said on Tuesday. The systems will generate power at times of peak demand or when not enough energy is flowing to the grid. Statkraft will name the location for the plant in the next few weeks.

Reciprocating engines work along a similar principle to piston engines and can typically be ramped up quicker than traditional gas turbines. The capacity of the system at 1 gigawatt is almost as much as the electricity that flows from a nuclear reactor.

Statkraft will market and manage the balancing services offered by the plant. It will be integrated into its “virtual” green power grid and trading platform in the U.K. The company controls 3.8 gigawatts of renewable power generation in the U.K.

While static batteries are becoming a mainstay of the power balancing market, Statkraft and Statera hope their combined model can occupy a niche between stand-alone storage and baseload-providing gas plants, Statkraft spokeswoman Judith Tranninger said by telephone.

By combining a gas plant with battery storage, the system “may also be able to access other revenues through the frequency regulation market which now requires plants to ramp up within 1 second, something that batteries can do but gas can’t,” said James Frith, an analyst at BloombergNEF.

Statera said on its website that it obtained financial backing for the project from private equity firm Infrared Capital Partners Ltd.

Breaking