Tesla has been installing its Powerwall energy storage in residential properties in the UK for quite some time, but now the UK is getting its first installation of the firm’s grid-scale Megapack energy storage solution.
Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), a global renewable energy solutions provider, has partnered with Harmony Energy, a British renewable energy developer, to commission the first utility-scale energy storage project utilising Tesla’s Megapack technology in the UK. The site will be located at in Dorset at Holes Bay just outside Poole.
The six Megapack batteries that will be installed at the site will have a capacity for 15 MWh. That means they’ll have enough energy stored within their cells to power 30,000 homes on their own, although the system will mostly be used to provide flexibility to the grid.
As the UK continues to decarbonise its electricity grid, the country will need to ensure that the grid remains resilient. In 2020, renewable energy has helped the UK switch away from coal-fired power plants, but it’s still not the number one source of electricity generation – that honour goes to natural gas. In order for renewables to become more reliable, the National Grid needs to store any energy that is produced that won’t be consumed by the grid in batteries, like those set to be installed at Holes Bay.
That’s exactly why Harmony Energy and FRV plan to connect the Tesla Megapack energy storage solution to the Southern Electric power distribution network. It means that even if the sun isn’t shining or wind isn’t blowing during peak electricity demand, renewable energy stored in the batteries can still provide power to the grid.
It’s not just about the batteries themselves that will provide the grid with the power it needs at Holes Bay, however. Tesla is also bringing what it refers to as ‘game changing’ technology to the UK. That technology is called Tesla Autobidder, which is a ‘real-time trading and control platform that provides value-based asset management and portfolio optimisation, enabling owners and operators to configure operational strategies that maximize revenue according to their business objectives and risk preferences’.
Essentially Tesla Autobidder is a piece of software that allows the company to pool its energy assets to best serve the grid. The software is capable of price forecasting, load forecasting, generation forecasting, dispatch optimisation and smart bidding.
The deployment of Tesla Autobidder at the Holes Bay site is unsurprising, as Tesla recently received approval from Ofgem to become an electric utility provider in the UK. Both Autobidder and Megapack are a key part of the company’s strategy.
Is this the future of the UK’s National Grid?
Peter Kavanagh, Chief Executive Officer of Harmony Energy, said, “Utility-scale battery energy storage is critical to the future of the UK’s energy supply, often seen as the missing link in the UK’s renewable energy strategy, both in terms of controlling grid frequency and providing backup during periods of peak demand and supply. We’re delighted to have worked closely with FRV and Tesla to complete this project, which is the first in our pipeline of battery energy storage plant to be built in the UK.”
Felipe Hernández, Managing Director Engineering and Asset Management of FRV, added, “Holes Bay will be the first project in a strategic energy storage pipeline [for FRV] to be launched globally. We are pleased to join together with Harmony Energy in this project that demonstrates the economic and technical feasibility of the battery energy storage system while supporting the development of UK’s strategic sustainable energy program.”
FRV’s future plan includes long-term investments in battery energy storage projects that play a central role in the market, supporting the increasing penetration of, and transition to, renewables in the global energy mix. Felipe went on to comment that:
“We are already collaborating with governments, regulators, and partners around the world to lay the foundations for a new energy model. Energy storage plays a central and critical role to fully realise the power of renewable energy, and FRV acknowledges the value of this technology as a key element to achieve a decarbonized society.”