UK’s biggest battery destined for isles as part of SSE scheme to improve local grid

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Shetland is set to get the UK’s biggest battery as part of Scottish and Southern Energy’s radical plans to improve the local electricity grid and take more power from windfarms.

A proposal to control the heating and hot water in many Shetland homes has also been put forward as part of SSE’s smart grid plan which, in the absence of an interconnector cable, would allow an extra 10 MegaWatts of wind power to be generated in Shetland over and above that from the Burradale windfarm and the proposed three-turbine wind-to-heat project at Gremista.

The one MegaWatt battery, said to be as big as a public hall, should arrive within the next four months for connection to the Lerwick power station. It costs over £1 million and is being bought with help from a UK government grant.

The technology which allows up to 1MW of power to be stored in cells is new and the experiment in Shetland is seen as important in discovering whether such systems could be used throughout the UK and beyond to help overcome grid restrictions and cope with the inter-mittent electricity supply which comes from wind turbines and other renewables. SSE is involved in the proposal with a company it part-owns called Smarter Grid Sol­utions.

Another radical development aimed at helping stabilise supply and demand on the local grid is to fit new centrally controlled storage and water heaters in 1,000 Shetland homes, offering cheap power in return for the service such heating systems provide for SSE.

A £280,000 trial version of the domestic demand management solutions scheme at six homes in Shetland involves SSE, Hjaltland Housing Association, the council, heater-makers Glen Dimplex and Smarter Grid Solutions.

The experiment, which should help the grid cope with peaks and troughs in supply and demand, could be used to help develop smart systems throughout the UK.

These novel energy storage schemes are linked to SSE’s bid for a £51 million grant from the elec­tricity regulator Ofgem towards an £81 million smart grid for Shet­land and Orkney, the so-called Northern Isles New Energy Solutions (NINEs). SSE will find out next week if it has been successful in the low carbon networks fund bid.

As revealed last week, the smart grid would allow more windfarms to connect into the local grid without having to wait for Viking Energy’s interconnector to the Scottish Mainland. In its submission to Ofgem, SSE said it planned the connection of up to 10MW of extra windpower, which is more than twice the maximum power rating of the Burradale, which is already plumbed into the grid.

For full story, see tomorrow’s Shetland Times.


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