Switch on for grid-scale battery storage system

The UK’s first grid-scale battery storage system connected directly to the transmission-network has been activated as part of the £41m Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO) project.

battery storage
Oxford’s grid-connected battery (Image: Pivot Power)

The government-backed project, led by Pivot Power, is said to integrate energy storage, electric vehicle (EV) charging, low carbon heating and smart energy management technologies in efforts to decarbonise Oxford by 2040. The system is the first to go live as part of Pivot Power’s plans to deploy up to 40 similar sites throughout the UK.

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The 50MW lithium-ion battery energy storage system – connected to National Grid’s high-voltage transmission system at the Cowley substation on the outskirts of Oxford – is the first part of what will be the world’s largest hybrid battery, combining lithium-ion and vanadium redox flow systems.

Pivot Power, 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 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 include 38 fast-to-ultra-rapid chargers when it opens later this year.

Project partner Wärtsilä provided battery energy storage technology, underpinned by its GEMS Digital Energy Platform that dynamically manages energy systems. Habitat Energy will optimise the battery trading and revenue generation using their AI-enabled PowerIQ platform.

In a statement, Matt Allen, CEO of Pivot Power, said: This is the first grid-scale battery to directly connect to the transmission network in the UK, and represents a key milestone for the completion of Energy Superhub Oxford and our mission to accelerate the UK towards net zero. 

“We are planning up to 40 similar sites throughout the country, totalling up to 2GW of battery storage – forming a key pillar of EDF’s plan to develop an additional 10GW of battery storage globally by 2035.”

The second element of the project, the vanadium redox flow battery, supplied by Invinity Energy Systems, will come online later this year. Once operational, Oxford University will evaluate the performance of the hybrid battery against a digital twin.